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Villagers embrace new life after relocation projects in Xinjiang
2019-12-16 source:Xinhua
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Tailors work on embroidery at a workshop in Hami, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on March 8, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

For Qimarhan, a 71-year-old woman living in the city of Hami in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, this winter comes without toil.

She used to live in a mountainous area without paved roads, tap water or electricity, and during the winter she had to chop logs and keep three stoves burning all day in order to keep warm.

Three years ago, Qimarhan and about 500 households in the mountainous area were relocated to a resettlement site in Hami, and her new house is equipped with electric floor heating.

"Now I just need to flip a switch to keep warm," Qimarhan said.

To fulfill the mission of eradicating absolute poverty by 2020, China has been helping impoverished people move from mountainous regions to resettle in places with better natural environments and living conditions.

Xinjiang set the goal of relocating 169,400 people to new houses built with government subsidies from 2016 to 2020. The last batch was relocated early this month.

Qimarhan's village, called "Happiness Village" by locals, is one of the resettlement sites that features public services such as electricity and heating, as well as supporting facilities.

The red-roofed, yellow-walled houses are built near a public square where residents can exercise. There is also a kindergarten and a senior-care facility.

The village is now home to around 1,600 people from different ethnicities, and the villagers celebrate each other's traditional festivals together.

The local government has been helping the new residents find jobs. "We have contacted nearby orchards, industrial parks and restaurants to help recruit new residents," said Yang Yanjuan, Party chief of Dongjiao development zone in Hami, where the village is located.

Nurtun Aksopa, a former herder in the village, and his family earned 7,000 yuan ($1,000) to 8,000 yuan each year from herding. Now, everyone in his family has a job, earning over 40,000 yuan a year.

"For those who still want to keep livestock, we are setting up a cow farm and introducing milk companies to help villagers improve techniques and boost sales," Yang said.

Nurtun said he is happy with his new life as it was very inconvenient to go to hospitals or access education back in the mountainous areas.

"My family members who were ill missed the best time for treatment since it took so long to get to the hospital," Nurtun said. "Now, things have changed."