Huang Wenxiu visits an apiary in a village in Guangxi to introduce bee raising to the low-income village of Baini. (XINHUA)
People recall the life of a grassroots Party worker.
Huang Wenxiu didn’t know the rainy night in the mountains surrounding the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region’s Baise city would be her last. She instead expected it’d be a homecoming to the village where she began her career after graduation.
Huang released a video on social media around midnight of June 16 that showed lightning and thunder, and roads covered in water. Some of her colleagues commented: “Watch out! Be careful!” Some asked her to quit the trip and stay in a safe place. After 1 am, they lost contact with Huang, whose body was found in a car washed into a valley by the flash flood.
The 30-year-old was Party chief of Baini village in Baise’s Leye county. She led the local poverty-relief work. Her death drew huge attention among the locals and netizens on social media, who mourned for her because she devoted her life to the well-being of others instead of her own.
That night, her father, Huang Zhongjie, who was recovering from a liver-cancer surgery, noticed the bad weather and persuaded her to stay until the next morning. But she told him: “That’s why I have to go now. The village could be flooded tonight.”
Road less taken
In 2016, Huang Wenxiu graduated from Beijing Normal University with a master’s degree. Instead of seeking a career in the capital city, she decided to work in Baise, her hometown, and was employed by the municipal publicity department. In 2018, she was sent to Baini, which is in a remote area.
Hao Haiyan, her university teacher, tells Guangming Daily that Huang Wenxiu had good English skills, and it wouldn’t have been difficult for her to stay in Beijing or go abroad if she’d wanted.
Huang Wenxiu had tasted the bitterness of poverty herself. A bed and a sofa made of tires and planks were once all the furniture in her house in De’ai village in Baise’s Tianyang county.
Huang Aijuan, her elder sister, tells People’s Daily that Huang Wenxiu got a government subsidy when studying in high school and university.
“She always said she wanted to help develop her hometown and bring hope to more people.”
Baini is about 200 kilometers, or four hours’ drive, from the urban area of Baise.
When she was appointed Party chief in March 2018, about 23 percent of the village’s 472 families lived in poverty. Now, the figure is 2.71. The area also has four new reservoirs and 17 street lamps.
She soon realized the job was by no means easy. To figure out solutions to help the poor families, Huang Wenxiu needed to visit each household to learn more about them. But some villagers refused to talk and some even refused to let her in, according to a Xinhua report.
Some said: “We have been poor for so many years. Is it possible to change?” And others said: “Is she really coming to help? Maybe she just needs some grassroots experiences to get a promotion.”
After spending some time without success, Huang Wenxiu approached Liang Jiannian, a former Party chief of the village, for help.
Liang told her to make friends first. “If they know you, they will accept you.”
Then she entered villagers’ homes and occasionally cleaned their yards or washed vegetables with them. If they were not at home, she would go to the farmlands to help them plant seeds and pick fruit. She even learned the local dialect to chat with them.
Huang Bangxuan, who’s also from one of the poor families, didn’t open the door for her at first. Huang Wenxiu visited his house three times to tell him that “an allowance can only meet basic living needs. To shake off poverty, we should use our own hands”, according to a Xinhua report. She then helped him get a subsidy of 7,000 yuan ($1,023) to begin his own business of growing fruit.
Wei Naiqing, who’s from a poor family, says Huang Wenxiu helped him to plant tea oil trees on a discounted loan. “She was like my daughter,” the 53-year-old says.
Huang Wenxiu promoted the development of agriculture based on firs, oranges, star anise and loquats.
She invited experts to tell the villagers about improving production and quality, and contacted customers online and offline to boost local sales. During her stint, the area growing oranges increased from 33 hectares to 133 hectares. Buyers from the nearby provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou sent trucks to the village. An e-commerce service station was also opened. The income of poor families growing oranges increased by 2,500 yuan annually on average.
Spirit never dies
Over 100 people attended her funeral on June 22. The story of how a young woman sacrificed her life on the way to help a poor village is inspiring. Activities were held on the campus of Beijing Normal University to mourn the loss. Qiu Jianzhong, a student there, tells Guangming Daily that Huang Wenxiu has become a role model.
“She had a spirit that’s rarely seen but most needed in our modern times—dedication to the country.”
Sui Lulu, a teacher at the university, encouraged students to “combine individual dreams with Chinese dreams” when speaking about Huang Wenxiu, the paper reports.
Yan Jianhua, a teacher at Changzhi University in Shanxi province, where Huang Wenxiu studied as an undergraduate student, tells the paper that she had strong faith as a member of the Communist Party of China. She loved the country, was loyal and shouldered responsibility with no fear of difficulties.
Huang Wenxiu once wrote: “Whoever works for poverty alleviation should be as proud as soldiers during wartime.”
Qin Weifeng, deputy director of the publicity department of Baise, says: “She achieved the goal of poverty relief in the poor village. We call her a role model because she devoted herself to the battle against poverty and the improvement of people’s livelihoods.”
Meng Lei, an official from the publicity department in Guangxi’s capital, Nanning, who is now working as a village Party chief, adds that officials should become involved in local communities to better understand people’s lives when working on poverty alleviation.
Huang Wenxiu was named a “national model for poverty alleviation” by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development in late June.
Source: China Daily