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Wulong: From Extreme Poverty to UN Sustainable Model City

By TRUMAN PENGICHONGQING|Sep 03,2020

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series of reports on poverty alleviation in the city’s 14 impoverished counties and districts. 2020 marks the final stage of China’s war against poverty alleviation and the aim to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, the Chongqing Municipal Information Office organized 14 press conferences to showcase each county and district’s poverty alleviation efforts and achievements.

Back in 2011, Chongqing’s Wulong district was listed as a national-level impoverished county and a key battlefield for poverty alleviation and development in the Wuling Mountain areas. Six years later, Wulong became the first in the country to withdraw from the impoverished counties’ rank and had been awarded the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Model Award,” with its poverty occurrence rate dropping from a whopping 14.8% in 2014 to a mere 0.03% in 2019.

So, how did all this happen in such a short time, and how has Wulong managed to transform itself from a backwater hinterland it used to be to the prosperous model city it is now?

Secretary of the CPC Wulong District Committee, Huang Zonghua (center), mayor of Wulong district, Lu Hong (second right), attend the press conference, Sept. 1, 2020.

“We carefully studied and implemented President Xi Jinping’s ‘Two Mountains Theory,” lucid waters and lush mountains are as invaluable as gold and silver mines, and built on our strengths in the ecological environment and natural resources to develop tourism,” said Huang Zonghua, secretary of the CPC Wulong District Committee, at Tuesday’s press conference.

With a strong commitment to the integrated development of tourism and the other sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, entertainment, and health management, Wulong has seen an unprecedented economic boom in all aspects. It is now one of the few areas in China enjoying the four titles of “UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site,” “National All-For-One Tourism Demonstration Spot,” “China National Tourist Resort,” and “National 5A-level Scenic Area” at the same time. Its poverty alleviation practice by developing tourism was also highly praised by the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President Xi Jinping himself on May 23 this year.

File photo of the “Stone Fall” inside the Furong Cave featuring unique karst landscape.

“For the first eight months of 2020, Wulong has received 7.86 million person-times’ of visits equaling to the 1.59-billion-yuan worth of tourism revenue, and has maintained a respective growth rate of 6.62% and 8.17% compared with last year’s,” Huang told the press conference. It should be noted that these growths are incredible, considering how the COVID-19 pandemic was shutting down most business operations in all sectors.

Presently, Wulong boasts a national tourist resort (Fairy Mountain Tourist Resort), a national 5A-level scenic area (Three Natural Bridges, Fairy Mountain, Furong Cave), two national 4A-level scenic areas (Longshuixia Fissure Gorge, Baima Mountain Heaven Lake), 20 national A-level scenic areas like the Yangjiao Ancient Town, and 100 village tourism demonstration spots, covering all of the district’s 75 impoverished villages with abundant tourism resources and wealth potentials.

File photo of people running on a heaving road in the Fairy Mountain Tourist Resort.

“I’d like to extend my warmest welcome to those planning on visiting Wulong, your amazement at the beautiful scenery in the ‘paradise on earth’ can be guaranteed, and you can also see for yourself the significant changes to people’s lives brought by the local government’s efforts in poverty alleviation and tourism development,” said Huang near the end of the press conference.

From Aug. 25 to Oct. 20, the 14 counties and districts of Wanzhou, Qianjiang, Wulong, Fengdu, Xiushan, Kaizhou, Yunyang, Wushan, Fengjie, Shizhu, Chengkou, Wuxi, Youyang, and Pengshui will come forward and hold press conferences on their progress in poverty alleviation.

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