China has set a deadline to eradicate extreme poverty by the end of this year. Authorities have rolled out measures to get some five million people out of poverty in the coming months. Southwest China's Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture is one of the least developed regions. Local officials are working to relocate mountain dwellers into new houses this month. Meng Qingsheng reports.
This is Nujiang River Valley, most of the locals live on mountain slopes.
Ci Asheng's family has been living in a farmhouse for 20 years. But soon they will move into an apartment in a new residential complex, provided for free to those living below the poverty line.
CI ASHENG Shangpa Resident "I wish to move into the flat, as traffic here is not convenient. Over there, it will be easy for me to send my children to school, and send the elderly into hospitals if necessary."
Miles apart down the valley, workers are adding the final touch to this relocation site.
Across Fugong County, the poorest in the region, more than 15-thousand mountain dwellers will move into places like this.
And in all of Nujiang prefecture, some 100-thousand people will be relocated this month.
YANG YONGZHU Communist Party Chief of Fugong County "The ecological systems of these mountains are fragile, and the areas are prone to geological disasters. By relocating, people will have better access to services like water, electricity and roads. It will stop the root causes to their poverty. Since most of them use firewood to cook, relocating them to towns will also protect the environment."
Here in Fugong, the first group of seven-thousand people has already moved into new apartments.
Ci Nuha's family moved here from a nearby mountain in 2018. The furniture, kitchen utensils and water heater were provided free of charge.
CI NUHA Maji Resident "I was so excited on the first day when I moved in. My family used to live inside a thatched hut. It's not as bright and spacious as this one. I had never anticipated to have such a home before. I owe my thanks to those who persuaded me into moving out of the mountains."
Now, more than 300 families from seven different locations have settled down here.
They have a complete set of amenities and services available to towns and cities across the country.
MENG QINGSHENG Fugong, Yunnan "This community is so well-equipped that it has a supermarket, a medical center, and a kindergarten, among other facilities. Now they are staying away from their farmland - their traditional source of income. Will this life change be sustainable?"
The community offers training programs like cooking, bamboo weaving and motorbike repairs to help people with job opportunities.
By working together with companies, this baseball workshop is open to all residents, with products supplying a global market.
YU LIYING Maji Resident "It helps increase family income by working downstairs. It's aimed for those who have to take care of their children and are unable to work outside. We earn about six dollars a day, 150 dollars a month. For me, this income is low, but it's acceptable for the elders and mothers."
Ci Asheng and his wife are preparing for their relocation.
They're hopeful and believe, like the 100-thousand others in the region, this will begin a new chapter in their lives.
Meng Qingsheng, CGTN, Fugong, Yunnan Province.