Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Revitalization of Villages in China

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Revitalization of Villages in China

Rural development is one of the remarkable achievements of the Chinese government which seeks to balance the economic development and bridge the gap between rural and urban areas. Chinese government provides all facilities for the citizens whether living in city or village. The constructions and facilities in remote areas are incredible.
A large number of remote provinces of China, which are called villages, ooze charm and attraction and have been changed into tourist destinations attracting millions of tourists every year. Last week, I visited two small towns Sanya and Boao in Hainan province of China and I was overwhelmingly amazed by their beauty. Only Sanya hosted more than 18 million tourists last year, the bulk of tourists were from inside, however.
Hainan province is a tropical island in southernmost of China and it has developed from the youngest economic zone into one of the most vibrant economies and vigorous center of tourism and green agriculture in China. Hainan hosted 67 million tourists last year, which is a twofold increase from 2012. President Xi Jinping said during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which was held in the Boao town of Hainan, that Hainan stands as an important historical witness of China’s reform and opening-up. In a gathering to mark the 30th anniversary of Hainan’s establishment as a province, President Xi has said that China has a plan to build the whole of Hainan province into a pilot international free-trade zone.
To attract more tourists, China issues free visa for 26 countries for visiting the island’s beaches. It is said that the international airports in Haikou, the capital of Hainan province, and Sanya received more than 40 million passengers in 2017. To participate in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this province also has a five-year plan.
China has reaped the fruit of 40 years of reform and opening-up, which was initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, and now reiterates deepening this reform across China. Attracting foreign tourists and investors is one of the key policy of China for further people-to-people exchanges and economic development.
To view the history of Hainan province, it was regarded as “the end of the sky” and the “corner of the sea” for being so distant, as my guide Jacky explained, and emperors sent disgraced officials to this island in exile. However, today it has been changed into a tourist destination and regarded as “basket of vegetable for China” owing to being so green place with lush hills.
The residents of villages such as Shamei village in Hainan are paid to participate in beautifying villages through agricultural activities. Villagers work as farmers, tour guides, teachers, fishermen, etc. to play their role. In such a case, they do not encounter unemployment.
Moreover, the attraction of millions of tourists annually contribute to the country’s economy and people’s income to a considerable extent. Hence, it will be of a great significance for China to deepen the opening-up, which is being stressed by Chinese President.
To follow China and take it as a role model, Afghanistan needs to develop rural areas and protect cultural heritage and historical monuments for attracting tourists. Villagers, mainly housewives, have to be employed to participate in agricultural issues and social and economic development of their areas. If the government supports villagers to take active part in planting trees and flowers and building parks in the villages, it will benefit both the residents and government for attracting tourists and protecting the environment and ecosystem.
Afghanistan has a rich culture and historical monuments the same as China does and revitalizing the culture and villages will play a key role in supporting economic issues in the country. Revitalization of rural areas is also part of China’s poverty alleviation and this can be a role model for Afghanistan.
After all, it is believed that creating job for people, be it in cities or villages, will alleviate violence in the country. When historical cities such as Ghazni, Herat and Bamyan change into tourist destinations, it will be a great source of income for the government and people who will also be able to work as tour guides.
Moreover, keeping museums in the corner of cities and out of the public touch will harm the country. The cultural and historical monuments should be kept alive through being put on exhibitions, which will also be a source of attracting tourists from inside and outside the countries.
To sum up, China can be a role model for Afghanistan in terms of revitalization of villages and poverty alleviation and the government will have to take concrete step to bridge the economic gap between urban and rural areas.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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