Wang Qingfang is deputy director of the Office of the Working Committee on Children and Women, under the People's Government of Shaanxi province. In July 2015, she was appointed first secretary of Qingmuchuan, a poverty-stricken village in Ningqiang, a county in Hanzhong, a city in northwest China's Shaanxi province.
Wang, a native of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, was impressed by the picturesque view of Qingmuchuan when she first arrived in the village. After she began working in the village, however, she realized she shouldered the great responsibility of helping the impoverished rural residents escape poverty.
In August 2015, Wang, then the newly appointed village official, visited 267 villagers, so she could learn firsthand the villagers' needs, and the various difficulties they faced. After she learned Duan Meiping, a 12-year-old girl with deformed legs, could not go to school, Wang was heart-stricken, and she burst into tears.
During the villagers' first conference, Wang told the villagers, "Now, I'm one of you ... Let's work hard together to make our village a better place." Wang received thunderous applause. That strengthened her determination to treat the villagers like they were her relatives, and to try her best to help them escape poverty.
Helping villagers escape poverty
With the support of Shaanxi Women's Federation and the local government, Wang has led the village officials in promoting implementation of China's poverty-alleviation policies, among the rural residents, during the past few years. Wang and the village's leaders have put a lot of effort into helping the villagers escape poverty, by promoting Qingmuchuan's tourism industry and implementing various poverty-alleviation projects.
Soon after she began working in Qingmuchuan, Wang established the Qiang women embroiderers' cooperative (in the village). During the past several years, she has tried her best to promote the items, produced by the cooperative's members, during the China Yangling Agricultural High-tech Fair.
Wang has also done her best to promote information about Qingmuchuan's tourist resources. For example, in 2016 she helped Shaanxi Women's Federation invite 100 women photographers, from different regions of the country, to make a special tour of Qingmuchuan, to snap photos of the village. The photos were well received by numerous visitors from around the world, both during the Women-20 (W20) Summit (an international forum for women's organizations from the world's 20 major economies, held in May 2016 in Xi'an), and during the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting (held in Xi'an in June 2016).
Wang in 2016 employed many disadvantaged residents (including disabled and/or impoverished residents, and elderly residents who live alone) when she implemented a photovoltaic-power-generation project (in Qingmuchuan), with the help of Shaanxi Women's Federation, the government of Ningqiang County and more than 50 enterprises.
During the past few years, Wang and the members of the village's Party branch have conducted various activities to strengthen the construction of the Party's work style, and to build the Party members' prestige, so the Party members could lead the villagers in working hard to help the rural residents improve their lives.
Through her contacts with the villagers, Wang has realized greater efforts must be made to improve rural children's education, to eliminate the "root" of poverty. With that in mind, Wang during the past several years has organized volunteers to conduct various activities (in the village), to promote socialist core values among children, and to teach parents how to educate and care for children in a scientific way. Wang and the volunteers have also donated money and/or items (including books, study accessories and clothes) to impoverished children. Wang has also tried her best to help the rural children receive a good education, so they can learn more about the outside world. That has kindled many rural children's enthusiasm to make greater efforts to improve their studies, to change their fates.
Concerns for villagers
While she worked as the first secretary of Qingmuchuan from 2015-2018, Wang traveled between Xi'an and Qingmuchuan (the distance between the city and the village is 529 kilometers) more than 100 times to promote the village's projects, and to seek investments from enterprises and institutions. She also sought financial support from entrepreneurs and kindhearted people, from all segments of society across the country, to aid impoverished villagers and/or to support Qingmuchuan's construction. Given Wang's efforts, many enterprises have signed agreements to implement cooperative projects with Qingmuchuan.
Despite the difficulties in Wang's life (such as her failing to return home to look after her mother, who suffered from pulmonary heart disease, and to take care of her daughter, who was about to sit for China's university-entrance examination), the villagers' well-being remains Wang's top concern. "Sometimes, when I encountered difficulties in my work, I thought of 'beating a retreat.' When this happened, my leaders' exhortations to help rural residents escape poverty, and the villagers' expectations to live better lives, strengthened my determination to continue to conduct poverty-alleviation work in the village," recalls Wang.
She says she has benefited greatly from her work experience in Qingmuchuan. "To me, the experience is a lifetime of wealth," she says. "I'm pleased to see our efforts have yielded fruitful results — many rural residents have escaped poverty. Also, many villagers have become my close friends."