The story appears on

Page A6

August 3, 2020

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro

Prosperous new life for old village

A village dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) on the city’s southern outskirts has become a model project for China’s “rural revitalization” initiative to make farmers rich and the countryside prosperous again.

Wufang Village in Fengxian District’s Qingcun Town dates back around 300 years. Its old houses have been restored, waterways dredged and the environment improved to restore its rural ambiance.

The authentic south China water town, covering 1.99 square kilometers, is about 40 kilometers from downtown Shanghai, with a total population of some 1,300 villagers.

The villagers have been encouraged to rent their houses to the government, with the buildings converted into homestay projects and offices for startups. The township government has relocated the villagers to newly built modern residential neighborhoods.

The villagers can receive money from the lease of their houses, share in the tourism project, and get jobs guiding tourists, said Qin Ying, Party secretary of the village. “The main purpose of the rural revitalization is to increase the earnings and improve living standards of farmers.”

Some abandoned artifacts such as milestones and plows have been collected to decorate houses that have become homestays or small eateries. The former ponds that were breeding grounds for fish and crabs are now used by tourists for fishing contests. A century-old residential house is now a tiny museum which showcases the history of the village.

As of May 2020, 55 companies have registered in Wufang, mainly in energy technology, intelligent transport, health and medicine, agricultural tourism and vocational education.

A house owner can receive about 50,000 yuan (US$7,170) per year if the property they own is renovated into company headquarters or minsu (Chinese-style B&Bs), compared with only 20,000 yuan per year in normal rent.

Modern neighborhood

Fei Liping, a village businessman, rented his old family house to the village government and receives an annual lease of about 60,000 yuan.

“My mother used to sweat day and night on the farmland, and the produce largely depended on the weather,” Fei said. “She can enjoy a comfortable life in a modern neighborhood now.”

He established a property management company to take charge of the cleaning and maintenance of the rented houses. He has hired over 20 villagers to work as cleaners or security guards. “I prefer to work and contribute to my hometown. It is a source of pride for me to witness the village becoming a popular travel destination nowadays.”

President Xi Jinping initiated the “rural revitalization” strategy in October 2017 with the chief goal to modernize agriculture and rural areas.

Wufang Village, known as a production base for Shanghai’s famed yellow peaches, was listed in the first batch of nine demonstration villages to be revitalized. The construction of another 28 “demonstration villages” is under way across the city.

The village was initially developed under the orders of Emperor Daoguang to reward a local Wu family for their filial piety. A stone gateway was once erected at the entrance to remind people to show respect when entering the village.

However, the village was later affected by pollution. The once-fertile farmland grew barren, while many houses became vacant after the younger generation moved downtown.

Fengxian launched the facelift campaign in September 2018. The village houses and roads were renovated and the original elements, such as their tiles and white walls, have been preserved. The once-murky creeks have been dredged and purified to restore the historical ambiance of a typical water village of Jiangnan, or regions south of the Yangtze River.

The first phase of the project, which has already opened to tourists, covers about 240,000 square meters.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend