One-Armed Official's Battle Against Disability, Poverty

 May 28, 2020
Zhang Xingyi at work []


GUIYANG, May 25 (Xinhua) — Zhang Xingyi lost her right arm in a traffic accident seven years ago. But she has become more able than ever in the uphill battle against poverty.

The 34-year-old village cadre in southwest China's Guizhou Province walks to work every morning, following the same route up a mountain slope, where acres of roxburgh roses have been planted.

Roxburgh roses, mainly planted at an altitude between 500 and 2,500 meters, bear fruit known for their richness in vitamins.

"All the flowers have borne fruit," said Zhang, pointing at a flourishing tree.

Zhang lost her right arm at the beginning of 2013, when her baby son was just one month old. Her husband left. She spent the rest of the year in tears.

One winter's day, she went to a post office to send a parcel. But she couldn't write properly with her left hand. Out of despair, she asked someone to fill out the information for her.

She couldn't help but burst into tears as soon as she walked outside.

"I had to find a way out. I can't count on other people's kindness my whole life," Zhang said.

On her way back, she bought tools and materials for cross-stitched embroidery. She was determined to make up for the lost arm.

About half a year later, Zhang finished a delicate cross-stitch picture measuring about three meters long and 1.6 meters wide, with flourishing flowers, dancing butterflies, and beautiful ladies on it.

In 2014, Zhang assumed a new post in Zhichang, a poverty-stricken village tucked away in the mountains that suffered from serious rocky desertification.

When she first started to use the only computer in the village office, she found her hand trembling a lot. But she soon became the most skilled operator in the village. And thanks to her computer skills, she was promoted to deputy head of the village Party committee, being the only female member.

Guizhou is the main battlefield in the national poverty-alleviation efforts. To help poor households increase their incomes, the provincial government has paid a lot of attention to increasing the added value of the planting industry. In 2017, the village decided to plant roxburgh roses.

Start-up funding was an obstacle, but one that was soon solved.

"Seven cadres chipped in and got loans from the bank to set up a special cooperative," said Zhang. She was the first one to get a loan of 50,000 yuan (about 7,016 U.S. dollars).

To enrich the barren land, Zhang weeded, dug and planted trees with farmers every day.

"Zhang is devoted to her work," said Wu Zuodong, a poverty-relief cadre from the county. "With a coworker plowing with one arm beside you, you can hardly think about slacking on the job."

The total planting area of roxburgh rose trees to date has reached 198 acres.

"The amount of fruit produced by one tree ranges from 5 kg to dozens. The total revenue is expected to reach over 1 million yuan this year," said Zhang.

The village's poverty headcount ratio has been slashed from 48.7 percent in 2014 to 1.95 percent this year, according to Zhang, who knows almost every such figure for the village by heart.


(Source: Xinhua)


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