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Revisiting Guizhou after 22 years

By WANG KEJU and YANG JUN in Guiyang ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-12-22


Revisiting Guizhou after 22 years
Foreign visitors watch a member of staff at work at the Guiyang Big Data Exchange. WU WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Christopher Aleksi Georgiou, a British national who works as an editor at china.com, brought several anti-nausea treatments with him after a Chinese colleague described the poor transportation infrastructure in the province, which would see the party bumping along rough mountain roads.

However, the treatments were not needed. "I didn't take any medication during the four-day visit, even though I spent more than four hours a day on the road when travelling in the mountains. The roads felt no different to those in Beijing or Shanghai," Georgiou said.

Guizhou has 5,128 kilometers of expressways, linking all 88 counties within its borders, and the province will receive funding of 1.15 trillion yuan to extend the network to 10,196 km by 2030, according to a plan for expressway infrastructure released by the Guizhou Transportation Department.

Bruce Connolly, another British national, noted that the poorest roads were in the most isolated parts of the province. "It appeared to me that most of the deprivation was concentrated in mountainous villages which lacked adequate roads. There were just rough tracks, so goods were transported by packhorse," he said.

The village of Huamao lies about an hour's drive from Zunyi along a valley that displayed diverse aspects of rural life-such as villagers washing clothing in ponds or making vinegar in their yards.

Huamao is home to a mix of Han Chinese and people from the Miao ethnic group. The village and the area that surrounds it have been hailed as prime examples of successful poverty reduction policies.

"Although a few older wooden buildings remain as reminders, the farmers and villagers live in modern homes constructed in keeping with local traditions," Connolly said.

The local government has beautified the village by cleaning the streets, removing waste and trash, and renovating locals' houses. To attract tourists, the government has also helped villagers to develop and sell local crafts such as pottery and baijiu, China's traditional rice spirit.

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