“In building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, not a single one should be left out.” This is something Chinese President Xi Jinping says and is also a common aspiration of the 1.4 billion Chinese people.
In 2018 when Dulong people in Yunnan got rid of poverty, they wrote to President Xi Jinping to share their excitement and happiness. Responding to them, President Xi congratulated Dulong people and encouraged them to keep working for a better life.
Dulong people are one of the ethnic groups in China with a small population (around 7,000 by 2021). They are also one of the groups that remained in the late stage of the primitive society before 1949 and developed directly into a socialist society after 1949. Dulong people live in the remote high mountains and deep canyons of Gaoligong Mountains, with inconvenient transport links and underdeveloped economy. The place where they live used to be one of the most outlying, enclosed and impoverished areas in China.
Since 2012, Yunnan Province has pooled resources to provide assistance to Dulong people, who mainly live in Dulongjiang Township, Gongshan County, Nujiang Prefecture. First, infrastructure has greatly been improved. Roads, bridges, internet access and power stations have facilitated their interaction with the outside world. Second, villagers’ living environment has been upgraded. Affordable housing, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, among other things, have been built. Third, training sessions have been held to improve local people’s skills so that the local communities have been galvanised. They have been trained in engineering construction, planting and husbandry, tourism services, wood carving, motor vehicle driving, and standard Chinese to help them generate incomes for themselves. Fourth, equal attention has been given to development and conservation. Planting and husbandry with local characteristics and eco-tourism have been developed based on local conditions. By the end of 2018, all 1,086 poverty-stricken households in Dulongjiang Township had moved into new homes, with all villages accessible by asphalted and cemented roads, 4G Internet, radio and television signals. Red cardamom, honey and Dulong cattle have become their cash sources. Children enjoy schooling for free and medical service is accessible and affordable.
Recent years have witnessed the transition of Dulong people from lumberjacks to rangers, from slash-and-burn peasants to well-off forest owners, from secluded villagers to hospitable hosts.
Long Decheng, a ranger of the Forest Ranger Squad at Dizhengdang Village, patrols the forests every month with his colleagues. In Dulongjiang Township, 313 rangers are staffed at four levels of county, town (township), village and unit in a grid management system. This not only helps protect the eco-environment, but also provides jobs to local people.
Fang Xinming is busy picking red cardamom fruits at his farm. Since the beginning of 2012, in order to encourage red cardamom farming, the local authorities have been handing out free seedlings and providing training to local people. In addition, the local authorities also encourage people to engage in forest farming of morel, Dulong cattle, Dulong chicken and Dulong bee etc. for remarkable income.
Gao Jianling runs an inn with the help of microcredit loans. The local authorities try every way to develop eco-tourism programmes featuring eco-agriculture, Dulong cuisine and folk culture, etc.
Dulong people have shaken off poverty through development, yet they bear conservation in mind all along the development.