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Model village laid out in concrete

world Updated: May 11, 2010 02:11 IST
Avijit Ghosal
Avijit Ghosal
Hindustan Times
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Imagine a village where the gross output value of industry and agriculture is 5.71 billion yuan (Rs 3,700 crore) annually and 4,651 residents have a collective income of 10 million yuan (Rs 6.5 crore). Wuyi village in the northeastern part of Wujin district of Jiangsu province on the east coast is a model that China wants its villages to emulate.

Everyone in Wuyi has a job and access to social security. It is also a village that seems to define modern China in a microcosm — full of industrial activity and where each blade of grass seems to be growing under the watchful eyes of urban planners.

“Since 1998 it has been recognised as a pioneering demonstration village of countryside modern test zone, the face of our rural reform,” said Wang Li Ren, member of Standing Committee of Wuxi Municipal Party Committee.

Rural reform is an integral part of the reform drive Deng Xiaopeng started in the late seventies, but only during the late nineties did the Chinese government achieve the face of twenty first century villages it wants to project to the world.

This correspondent who was a part of a visit organised by the foreign affairs office of the Chinese government found that ‘test zone’ begins right from the outskirts of Shanghai itself as the entire 150 km stretch is dotted with industrial parks, urban settlements or urban habitats in the making.

But as one steps inside Wuyi it becomes apparent why none in the village wants to migrate to neighbouring Shanghai, the largest financial and commercial centre of the world’s fastest growing major economy.

The roads in the village are broad, clean and are lined with beautification projects on either side. The bunglows are plush and the apartments spacious with abundance of sun and wind.

The village proper has no agricultural activity but is dotted with factories that employ students after they pass out of local schools and colleges. There are 80 computers in every hundred households.

“Poverty is not socialism,” says the promotional film of Wuyi reiterating Deng’s philosophy.