China: Wei Cheng

I’m a Party member, a member of society and I act on what is in my mind. If people share my vision, they too will need to act on it; but if they think it is someone else’s problem, nobody will act.

— Wei Cheng

Cheng Wei (54) left her comfortable job and home and moved to a remote village in Shanxi Province, China. She put all her efforts – and her own funds – into developing the economy and culture of the area, focusing on road building, electricity and water supplies, schools, and the purchase of trees and seeds.

Cheng Wei was 18 years old when she joined the production team in Fensi County, Shanxi Province in 1968. After graduating in chemistry from Qinghua University, she wanted to work in Fensi County. In late 1978 she was transferred to a secondary school in Beijing as a chemistry teacher. Since 1997 she has been working, at her own expense, on poverty alleviation in Jinyita Village, Yuchun Township, Daning County of Shanxi Province. In the past eight years she has had over ten kilometers of roads built, enabling the villagers to export their agricultural by-products and thus increase their incomes. She has also built a new school for over 50 students. Kerosene lamps have been phased out with the connection of electricity. She has also motivated the government to construct teletransmission towers, thus solving the communication problem of local farmers in an area covering several dozen square kilometers. The improved communication network has boosted the sales coordination of agricultural by-products. Animal husbandry has also benefited from this communication network since veterinary aid is now available. New technology has been introduced to irrigate fields and to help dig wells to provide for the water needs of people and animals. She has also supplied farmers with good quality seeds, trees and sheep. New forestry and animal husbandry procedures have in turn greatly improved the habitat and ecology. After eight years of Cheng’s efforts, it is time for tourism development, for which the infrastructure has been laid. Invitations for investments in the tourism development of Erlong Mountain is underway – which will be a continuation of the village's poverty alleviation program. Cheng’s committed initiative has contributed to a greener environment, a better ecology and a higher standard of living for the people.

Jinyita Village, Daning County, Shanxi Province, China