Wengding, a thousand-year-old village of Wa ethnic group, has encouraged its villagers to make use of idle resources to upgrade local infrastructure, aiming to develop tourism industry and shake off poverty.
Located in southwest China's Yunnan Province, Wengding is dubbed "the last primitive tribe" in China for its "Wa culture" dating back more than 4,000 years, attracting many tourists.
"I come from Shanghai. I'm really fascinated by the primitive traits of Wa ethnic," said a tourist.
"I'm an ethnic Wa. And this is my first visit to the village. It's hard to imagine before this trip that Wa culture could be so amazing," said another tourist.
Only a few years ago, the ancient village was still hardly improved due to its poor rural roads and backward living and production conditions. In 2014, 154 out of its 300 households were "registered poor" and net income per capital was some 5,370 yuan.
Thanks to the country's poverty alleviation project, Wengding has experienced rudimentary changes ever since, stating from the improvement of infrastructure. Connected by asphalt roads and air routes, the once "isolated" Wa village is receiving batches of visits. Among others, handmade bamboo stools and homemade roasted tea leaves are the favorite of the tourists.
"Ten of us used to live in this house. Come and see here. It used to be our bedroom where the elderly slept. When my sons came back, they just slept on the floor," said Xiao Wenping, a local tourguide and villager introducing the Wa-style house she once lived in.
In order to better preserve the Wa culture and keep ancient village outlook, the local government launched a relocation project in 2018 by building a new and modern village nearby to facilitate and improve local villagers' life as well.
"We decided to build a new village one kilometer from the ancient one, a quite modern village matched with infrastructure covering all aspects of life including water and electricity supply, roads and cables. We plan to relocate all the villagers after its completion," said Wang Taipeng, executive deputy head of the leading group in charge of Wengding tourism project.
At present, many villagers choose to work in the ancient village while living in the new one. In January 2019, Wengding was enlisted as one of China's famous historical and cultural villages. Local net income per capita had exceeded 11,000 yuan by the end of the year.