Hangzhou's pairing assistance improving lives in Sichuan

Wu Huixin
A new "pairing assistance" team comprised of 39 Hangzhou civil servants and professionals was sent to Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze and Guangyuan City in Sichuan Province.
Wu Huixin

A new "pairing assistance" team comprised of 39 Hangzhou civil servants and professionals was sent to Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze and Guangyuan City in southwest China's Sichuan Province on June 1. They will coordinate with local governments to improve social development.

Since the Chinese government initiated the pairing assistance program in the 1990s to help poverty-stricken regions, Hangzhou has been supporting the development of 11 cities and 47 counties across eight provinces.

In April, Hangzhou officially began pairing assistance with 12 counties in Garze and six counties in Guangyuan.

Hangzhou's pairing assistance improving lives in Sichuan
Ti Gong

A supermarket in Hangzhou sells fresh fruit including loquat and apricot from Guangyuan City in Sichuan Province. 

"The two areas aren't well developed, and I hope our government officials can bring Hangzhou's progressive concepts there and play a role in boosting the local economy," said Mao Xihao, deputy director of the Organization Department of CPC Hangzhou Committee.

Prior to 2020, not all Zhejiang natives had heard of Garze. The situation didn't change until a 20-year-old Tibetan herdsman named Tamdrin, Ding Zhen in mandarin, was spotted and videotaped by a photographer in his hometown – Litang County in Garze Prefecture.

With Bambi eyes and a bright smile, Ding immediately went viral online. The seven-second video garnered nearly 3 million "likes" on Douyin in less than three weeks.

The search volume for "Garze" skyrocketed since Tamdrin became one of the most famous Internet celebrities last year, and people surprisingly found the prefecture with breathtaking views and rich Tibetan culture.

In the future, Hangzhou will emphasize tourism promotions and explore more tourism resources for visitors.

As for Guangyuan, its juicy fruits and fresh vegetables have already been transported to Hangzhou, so people can purchase in some local supermarkets. Agriculture will be highlighted in future assistance campaigns.

Hangzhou's pairing assistance improving lives in Sichuan
Wu Huixin / SHINE

The breathtaking view in Garze Prefecture where Hangzhou has sent volunteers to alleviate the poverty.

Pairing assistance geared toward Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in Guizhou Province and Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in Hubei Province, ended on May 26, as all of the allocated governmental officials and professionals returned to Hangzhou.

Throughout the many years of assistance, Hangzhou has prioritized the economy, education and health care in these areas. Hangzhou government has allocated about 3.45 billion yuan (US$541.7 million) in financial aid to Qiandongnan and Enshi, implementing 1,967 projects and reducing the impoverished population by 430,000.

Talent and industrial resources have been dispatched there to improve people's wellbeing and raise their living standards.

By the end of 2020, Hangzhou companies had invested 19.9 billion yuan to build factories there and provide more than 58,000 jobs to locals.

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