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Villagers experience growing sense of security

By MA ZHENHUAN and QI XIAO in Hangzhou| China Daily| Updated: March 15, 2022 L M S


The village of Shishe in Tonglu county, Zhejiang province, is rising in popularity among tourists because of its burgeoning reputation of art. CHINA DAILY

For Fang Zhonghua, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, China's national legislature, attaining common prosperity depends on both creating a "bigger cake" and distributing it fairly.

"When the villagers are all well-off, we will have true common prosperity," Fang said.

At the end of last year, every resident of Fanglin, a village in Taizhou city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, received 49,000 yuan ($7,710) in dividends, while benefits and pensions helped some to get as much as 70,000 yuan, according to Fang, the village Party secretary.

Among some 26 benefits, the residents enjoy free medical care, free retirement apartments and all-expenses-paid vacations.

"The villagers have a growing sense of gain, happiness and security," Fang said. "We are on the right track to achieving common prosperity."

As one of the poorest villages in the area, Fanglin had no paved roads about 30 years ago. However, in a little over three decades, it has become one of the area's richest settlements, thanks to market reforms and rural vitalization.

Now, the village operates a robust market for both new and secondhand cars, with annual turnover of more than 20.8 billion yuan.

Fanglin has also been sharing its wealth. It has established a public welfare fund for poverty alleviation, investing 1 million yuan in it every year, and has accumulated more than 10 million so far for that purpose.

The villagers have also established a development alliance with five neighboring settlements, helping to increase their annual revenue by millions.

On June 10, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guideline to establish Zhejiang as a pilot zone for common prosperity while the country works to tackle development problems and bridge the gap between urban and rural areas.

Fanglin is one of many villages in Zhejiang aiming to contribute to building the province into a demonstration zone for common prosperity.

For example, Huanxi, a village in Tonglu county, Hangzhou, has been leveraging its well-preserved ancient architecture and well-protected natural environment for development.

Featuring a unique lotus-themed cultural heritage, the village attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year. With a booming agritainment business, annual per capita disposable income in Huanxi is expected to surpass 73,000 yuan by 2025.

"We are turning those 'sleeping' resources and the beautiful environment into development capital for common prosperity," said Zhou Zhonglian, deputy Party secretary of the village, who is also a deputy to the NPC.

For both Zhou and Fang, one of the keys to realizing common prosperity lies in fostering talent, a method Luo Weidong, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, endorsed.

In his proposal to the CPPCC, Luo, who is also president of Zhejiang University City College, urged more efforts to improve digital competence in education.

"In the digital age, it is imperative to make better use of digital means to cultivate digitally empowered talents, which is already underway in Zhejiang," he said.