A scene from Hold Your Hands
A scene from Hold Your Hands

A new Chinese movie that tells the story of villagers striving to get themselves out of poverty has been praised for epitomizing China’s nationwide campaign.

The movie Hold Your Hands was screened on October 13. The village of Shibadong in Huayuan county of the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture in central China’s Hunan Province is home to 225 Miao ethnic minority households and a total population of 939.

Five-hundred and thirty-three were once living in poverty. In 2013, the per capita net income of the village was 1,668 yuan ($251), 18.75 percent the average income of Chinese farmers.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the remote village in November 2013, he proposed to take targeted measures in poverty alleviation for the first time.

He stressed the importance of precision in eradicating poverty, saying that poverty alleviation should be based on the real situation, suited for local conditions and address the practical needs of the villagers.

Since then, the villagers have been striving to rid themselves of poverty. They were assisted by government officials to develop tourism and planting, embroider and to pursue “agritainment,” entertainment for tourists on rural farms.

By 2016, the annual per capita income in the village had risen to 8,313 yuan($ 1,260). In February 2017, the village was announced free of poverty, setting an example for other impoverished places in the country.

“Hold Your Hands” tells the story of how Yang Yingjun, the lead character, and his cousins, changed their way of life. The movie depicts the inner world of Chinese farmers and reflects the changing times.

The movie has so far won acclaim from critics and viewers, who praise it as a continuation of China’s countryside-themed movies and a resonance to poverty alleviation of reform efforts in rural China.

The movie brings the real life of Chinese farmers onto the screen and depicts new momentum brought to farmers in the process of building new socialist villages guided by national policies in a poetic film language, said Sun Xianghui, director of China Film Archive.

Shibadong’s story of shaking off poverty is among the many victories that the country has achieved in the battle against poverty since 2013.

Between 2013 and 2016, a total of 55.64 million people were lifted out of poverty: an average of 13.91 million a year, resulting in a reduction of poverty incidence from 10.2 percent in 2012 to 4.5 percent in 2016.

By the year 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line will get rid of poverty and poverty will be eliminated in all poor counties and regions, President Xi said in a report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 18.

By Hou Lulu from People’s Daily/NewsGhana.com.gh

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