Promoting Regeneration of Rural Villages
Promoting Regeneration of Rural Villages
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Touching Rural Villages
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Yilan County Dongshan Township Zhongshan Community
water buffalo
water buffalo
waterfall
waterfall

     The Zhongshan Community is comprised of the four settlements of “Xinliao, Jiuliao, Zhongcheng, and Shitouchengzi.” It is a mountain village with people living scattered throughout it. In particular, all of the community’s land, including the roads and the dike, are privately owned. For this reason, neighboring villages joke that “If the inhabitants of Zhongshan, and each of its settlements, would only sweep the snow in front of their door (a Chinese saying indicating one only takes care of their own interest), the community would become very beautiful and elegant.” The community development association’s director Lin Zhanghui believes that, because everyone in the village owns their own land, teamwork and self-discipline are clearly even more important.

     Some decades ago, the region built a water channel to provide irrigation water for the community. However the water source was far off in the deep forest and environmental protection policies have very little effect in this region. Two carbide plants, a cement factory were built in the forest area above its waterfall. Gravel trucks would constantly enter and exit the area, but these businesses had only built one gravel road, and the trucks coming and leaving created a large amount of dust which caused the river to be seriously polluted. There was also the untimely manner in which people dumped garbage, burnt plastic, tires, and other waste products here.

     This led to five or six years of struggle for the community residents, after which the factory owners paved the road with asphalt. Afterward, dust was not constantly blown into the river. The residents spontaneously created a “foolish monkey stone cleaning” activity, in which they cleaned the river at regular times. These activities included picking up trash and washing away the lime which was stuck to the rocks. It took them one or two years to clean rocks to the point where the moss returned. They also put in a fish pond once again and the villagers could, after some time, view the beauty of fishes swimming in the clear water of Xinliao River. The river cleaning activity was one which the people of Zhongshan Community, from grade school students to elderly men and women, took part in as a whole.

     In 2009 the population of the Zhongshan Community grew from 433 to 451. This agrarian village, which had been cursed by a decline in the number of its residents, was inspired by the increase. In addition, with tea as a central theme, the community developed various particular halls to directly experience tea culture. These included tea picking, handmade fried tea, tea cake making, green tea cakes, tea smoked eggs, and other items. What was originally a fortified area for combating attacks from indigenous peoples in the old days became a tea experience park. Many tourists visit this park on weekends and holidays.