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Laowai@Chongqing Takes Foreign Guests on Journey through Poverty Alleviation and Rural Delights

By James AlexanderICHONGQING|Jul 08,2020

Chongqing- On July 4th, 2020, the intangible heritage and rural experience series of events held by Laowai@Chongqing took place in Tianxingsi Town, deep into the picturesque mountains of Ba’nan District.

Each weekend, Ba’nan District organizes the Laowai @Chongqing event so that overseas residents in Chongqing have a unique opportunity to admire the great scenery, enjoy the lavish food, and study local intangible culture heritage.

Ten overseas friends from various countries joined the event this day to explore the beautiful countryside further and began with a home visit to see the results of poverty alleviation at the household of Mrs. Wang Jiaru, who filed for poverty support back in 2013 due mainly to the burden of schooling expenses.

Over the following years, towns and villages adopted new policies to eradicate poverty due to expenses related to education, medical care, and housing. Local authorities built on this foundation by supporting rural cooperative farming, as well as creating new industries and livelihoods. The household of Mrs. Wang has now come out of poverty, and their living conditions have been vastly improved.

Participants and organizers from Laowai @Chongqing visited the household with the village committee secretary Mrs. Zhou Jing. Huddled inside the living room by the front entrance, she told the personal story of the household and the role her committee played in this success story. When she finished, the 73-year-old Mrs. Wang expressed her sincere gratitude for the assistance she received and enthusiastically described for everybody present how much daily life has improved.

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Local party committee secretary Mrs. Zhou Jing introduces the household of Mrs. Wang Jiaru and her story of poverty alleviation to foreign guests during the Laowai @Chongqing event in Tianxingsi.

The second destination was Tianyong Ecological Park, an idyllic natural scenic area the overseas guests found enchanting on their arrival. People come here for relaxation and entertainment, while many tourists also visit to enjoy a day’s quiet fishing.

Tianyong Ecological Park is about 700 meters above sea level, covers over 700 acres, and has a forest coverage of 60%. It is among the attractions of Chongqing that integrate tourism, leisure, health, entertainment, and holiday services.

At one point, the overseas guests eagerly disappeared into the neighboring fields to pick fruit and vegetables such as green peppers, eggplants, corn, plums, and peaches, which they were invited to fill into bags free of charge.

‘It’s a really pleasant experience to pick fruit and vegetables in the countryside with everyone.’ Said Callum from the UK.

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Foreign guests of Laowai @Chongqing stop for a group photograph inside Biehua Shanfang Guesthouse after a clay sculpting experience as part of local intangible heritage.

Lastly, the party of overseas guests visited a famous resort and guesthouse called Biehua Shanfang, which only recently opened its doors earlier this year. The project saw the renovation of Ming and Qing Dynasty-era buildings, which now welcomes visitors on day trips or overnight stays at the elegant and intricately designed high-end venue.

Biehua Shanfang Resort is located in the village of Furong in Tianxingsi. The site occupies an area of ​​3,970 square meters, and once belonged to the Chongqing magistrate Liao Haitang during the reign of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Jiaqing. The discovery of this building provides a wealth of physical information on this family’s history during the Qing Dynasty, while the attraction possesses great potential for growth in tourism.

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Mr. Liu Qiang is an inheritor of the clay sculpting art form, another example of the rich intangible cultural heritage of Banan District.

Mr. Liu Qiang is the inheritor of clay sculpture, yet another example of intangible cultural heritage in Ba’nan. During the afternoon, he taught some basic manual skills to the foreign guests, and demonstrated how to mould cartoon characters, flowers, birds, insects, fish, and furniture decorations. With a pair of clever hands, Liu Qiang turned Yi Tuo mud into a delicate and small piece of art, which attracted friends to be surprised and asked him for techniques.

‘Today, I listened to a wonderful story of poverty alleviation, experienced picking vegetables in the countryside, and learned intangible heritage of clay modeling. I love Banan!’ Commented South Korean guest Hwa Jaehyeon following the latest Laowai @Chongqing tour in Banan District.

Upcoming events from Laowai@Chongqing

Below are the proposed dates and locations of upcoming events themed on intangible cultural heritage and rural traditions. There are 20 places available for foreign guests in each event and are free of charge.

Overseas residents interested in attending one or more events may contact Mr. He Liujin at bntqw@126.com, or by telephone 66231839 (English available).

July 11th – Huimin Area and South Hot Spring Area

July 18th – Lijiatuo Area and Maliuzui Town

July 25th – Longzhouwan Area and Yudong Area

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Poster featuring more highlights of the Laowai @Chongqing event in Tianxingsi, Banan District.

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