Building a 'Green Bank': Daughter Shoulders Father's Duty to Lift Xuejia Village out of Poverty

ByYe Shan January 12, 2022
Building a 'Green Bank': Daughter Shoulders Father's Duty to Lift Xuejia Village out of Poverty
Wang Ting works in the tea garden located in Xuejia, a village in Shimen County, in Central China's Hunan Province.


When Wang Ting was being interviewed a few months ago by a reporter from Women of China (WOC), she took a minute to show her daughter some photos of tea gardens. Why? The tea gardens in the photos were located in Xuejia, a village in Shimen County, in Central China's Hunan Province. After looking at the photos, Wang's daughter gave her mother a thumb up, and said, "Mom, you are great! You are a successor of socialism." Wang smiled, and then told WOC, "Even though some parents cannot stay with their children when their children are growing up, those parents still have a positive influence on their children. As a result, they help their children grow up." In fact, that was a lesson Wang learned from her father, Wang Xinfa.

Wang Ting and Wang Xinfa have both received the award given to outstanding personnel in the national battle against poverty. Wang Ting in February attended the award ceremony held in Beijing, and after receiving the award she returned to Xuejia with the red flower she wore during the ceremony. She placed that flower at the gravesite of her father, who died in 2017. "Dad, I give this red flower to you as a gift. The award we win belongs to you, and to Xuejia Village," said Wang Ting.

Retired Soldier's Responsibility

Wang Ting traveled from Beijing to Xuejia for the first time during the spring of 2015, to visit her father. Wang Xinfa, who had joined the Chinese army in 1969, had moved to Shijiazhuang, in North China's Hebei Province, for work in 1982 after he had retired from the military. Wang Xinfa had a goal: Encourage retired soldiers to take initiative and do something practical to help the public.

In 2013, Wang Xinfa answered the call of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to join the fight against poverty. He relocated from Shijiazhuang to Shimen County to help lift residents of Xuejia Village out of poverty.

Mount Liuta is located in the center of Xuejia. Sixty-eight soldiers of the Chinese Red Army died on the mountain while fighting to liberate China during the revolution. They were buried in Xuejia by the villagers. Wang Xinfa was moved by this "red history" and he decided to construct a cemetery for the soldiers. "My father visited households in Xuejia Village, one by one, to encourage the residents to help move the gravesite for the 68 Red Army soldiers. He organized women from the village to embroider 68 national flags for the soldiers. By reburying those soldiers in the newly constructed cemetery named 'Shan He Yuan,' on Mount Liuta, my father said he hoped to remind villagers to never forget the past, and to move on along the path paved by revolutionary pioneers of our nation," Wang Ting said.

On February 23, 2017, Wang Xinfa died from exhaustion, the result of overwork. Wang Ting remembered clearly how the villagers had mourned for her father. "The residents, including the young and old, kneeled as they watched my father being buried on Mount Liuta. Many migrant youth, who worked in other places, went to see my father's gravesite when they returned to Xuejia Village," Wang Ting recalled. To continue her father's duty of helping villagers shake off poverty, Wang Ting quit her job, in Beijing, and moved to Xuejia to help the villagers fight poverty.

Develop, Attain Wealth with Villagers

Wang Xinfa had drafted a long-term development plan for Xuejia before he died. He wanted to promote both the "red history" and environmentally friendly development of the village.

Wang Ting said she was surprised when she arrived in Xuejia, the first time, in 2015. "I grew up in North China. I was used to living on a plain. Xuejia Village is located on a mountain. The land there is full of stones, and not suitable for growing crops," Wang Ting explained. That is the reason the villagers had chosen to grow tea, which can adapt to the high-altitude climate and generate high profits.

In 2014, Wang Xinfa put forward the idea of growing organic tea. "No use of pesticides, herbicides or foliage fertilizers, and picking only the top-quality tea sprouts and leaves. In the beginning, it was difficult for most villagers to accept such strict requirements proposed by my father," Wang Ting said. Wang Xinfa spent his own money to transform a tea garden into an organic garden, and he began growing organic tea. He set an example for the other villagers, and he proved the production of organic tea could bring wealth.

After her father died, Wang Ting received calls from several villagers, who asked if she would help them sell their tea. "My father passed away shortly after many villagers had just gotten used to growing organic tea. They were still in need of help," Wang Ting said. She visited experts, in Hunan Province, who were experienced in tea growing, production and sales. She soon realized the villagers would need unified standards to improve their tea- planting, picking and processing skills. She registered an organic tea company in Shimen County, and she helped create a brand for the tea produced in Xuejia.

Near the end of 2020, a tea-processing plant, which encompassed 11 mu (0.73 hectare) of land, was established in Xuejia. The plant formally began operating this past spring, after the tea was harvested. Today, the tea gardens in Xuejia, which encompass a combined 1,600 mu (106.67 hectares) of land, represent a "green bank" that gives villagers stable incomes.

'Honorary Village Head'

The villagers like to refer to Wang Xinfa as "honorary village head," to show their respect and gratitude to him. Wang Ting has inherited her father's spirit, and she has continued to make contributions to Xuejia's development. During the past several years, Wang Ting has often traveled between Beijing and Hunan. In the winter of 2018, when she was visiting Xuejia to decide where to build the tea-processing plant, she felt sick; later, she learned she was pregnant with her second child. When her baby boy was less than four months old, Wang Ting took him to Xuejia, so she could care for the baby while she was inspecting construction of the tea-processing plant.

When Wang Xinfa worked in Xuejia, Wang Ting and her mother supported him. Now, Wang Ting is supported by her mother, husband and parents-in-law. The stories about their grandfather and mother helping villagers shake off poverty have expanded the horizons of Wang Ting's two children, and have given the children reason to cherish their happy lives.

"The award given to outstanding personnel in the national battle against poverty means a great honor for me and my father. It summarizes my father's efforts; and, for me, the award points out a direction I will continue to work on," Wang Ting says. She hopes to fulfill the goal set by her father: To attain wealth — both materially and spiritually — with the people. "Dad hoped we would have a firm belief in our Party, and a great loyalty to our nation. He also hoped everyone in Xuejia would live a good life. It's my duty to work with the villagers, keep exploring rural revitalization development and an innovation mode. I want to help build a more beautiful Xuejia Village," Wang Ting concludes.

Building a 'Green Bank': Daughter Shoulders Father's Duty to Lift Xuejia Village out of Poverty
Wang Ting win the title of national advanced individual in poverty alleviation.


Photos Supplied by Zhang Jiamin and Wang Ting

(Women of China English Monthly November 2021 issue)


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