On June 8, a thank-you letter from the Yunlong County’s CPC Committee and Yunlong People's Government, Yunnan Province, arrived at Tongji University to extend Yunlong People's gratitude to Tongji people for their long-term care, support and help with Yunlong's economic and social development as well as with their poverty alleviation efforts.
Since 2013, Tongji University has been engaged in helping Yunlong County, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, according to the unified deployment of the Ministry of Education. In the past 8 years, the university has made full use of its advantages to meet the needs of people at Yunlong County. Measures have been taken in planning, education, medical services, leader training, capacity building and industrial support to help with the local economic and social development, and with their efforts to alleviate poverty. With the joint efforts of both sides, the poverty rate in Yunlong County has dropped from 28.1% in 2014 to 1.35% in 2019. On May 16, 2020, Yunlong County announced its withdrawal from the list of poverty-stricken counties in China.
It was a promise of Tongji University to help people at Yunlong County get rid of poverty and become better-off. It is also the mission of Tongji people to "grow with the homeland and help the society through science and education".
From June 8 to 10, 2020, a Tongji research team headed by President CHEN Jie and Deputy Party Secretary of the University XU Jianping were at Yunlong County for investigation of poverty alleviation results. The research team went to the construction site of Dayan Yunlan Expressway, Yunlong People's Hospital, Yong'an Village, Yunlong No. 1 Middle School and Baofeng Township Center. They also looked into the road planning, medical services, industrial assistance, educational support and the construction of the poverty alleviation demonstration site. They visited teachers, students and medical doctors from Tongji University who had worked in Yunlong for support. YUAN Lijuan, deputy secretary of Dali Party Committee, LI Ping, deputy county governor, DUAN Dongmei, secretary of Yunlong County Party Committee, and LI Yuhua, county governor, joined the Tongji team with their investigation.
During the investigation, CHEN Jian, Secretary of the Dali Party Committee and Governor YANG Guozong met with President CHEN Jie and his team. The local leaders showed their gratitude to Tongji University for its great efforts and contributions in the poverty alleviation work in Yunlong County, and expressed their wish for the university to further their assistance in planning and design, leader training and in helping Dali and the western Yunnan region with their rapid economic development by taking advantages of the expertise at Tongji University. The two sides had heated discussions and reached consensus on the areas of enhanced cooperation.
At the construction site of Xiluoping Tunnel on Dayan Yunlan Expressway, CHEN Jie and his team made enquiries about the progress of road construction in detail. Building roads is vital on the way to become better-off. Dayang Yunlan Expressway was a key project of “Connectivity” in Yunnan Province, and was of pivotal importance for the economic development of Yunlong County. With the help of Tongji University, Yunlong achieved the breakthrough "from 0 to 1" expressway and "from 1 to 4" expressways. By 2022, 4 expressways will be connected at Yunlong which will then become a transportation hub in West Yunnan Province. Yunlong's transportation difficulties will be completely overcome, which will add wings to Yunlong's economic and social development.
In the poverty-stricken Yong’an village, CHEN Jie, XU Jianping, YUAN Lijuan, LI Ping, DUAN Dongmei, and LI Yuhua participated in the opening ceremony of the Yongji New Bridge designed and supported by the university. Difficulties in transportation make everything difficult. The completion and opening of Yongji New Bridge solved the problem of the transportation for nearly 600 villagers in 4 villages on both sides of the Bijiang River Gorge. The Bridge, which witnessed the eight years when the two sides "worked together and helped each other", means a new starting point of revitalization and development for Yong’an.
The research team visited 2 villagers in Yong’an Village and asked about their life and the difficulties they were faced with. When the villagers talked about the changes in their life brought by the Yongji New Bridge and road improvement in the village, they showed their thumbs for appreciation and expressed their confidence and hope for better life in the future.
Since 2019, the university has focused on providing solutions to transportation, infrastructure and human settlement environment in their help with Yong’an Village. By now, 5 projects have been completed with a total investment of nearly 6 million CYN. As of May 2020, 3 Villagers’ Centers have been built at Shangcun, Maizideng, and Yun'an Old Houses. Construction of Yong'an Primary School and country road improvement in the village were completed along with 10 demonstration toilets for households. More than 100 solar street lights were installed and Yongji New bridge was built. As a result, infrastructure construction in Yong'an Village was completed ten years ahead of time, and the village has changed dramatically.
At the production workshop of the local leading enterprise - Fengnong Agricultural Development Co., Ltd. of Yunlong County, the research team visited the newly-built production line for coarse grain processing and made inquiries about the sales of special agricultural products during the epidemic time. Since 2016, the university has helped the local people with their raw material processing and production, online and offline sales, and after-sale services. The university also helped Fengnong Company join hands with more than 70 local companies, cooperatives and thousands of people below poverty line in developing local industry by building an industrial chain directly "from farming fields to customers’ tables". In 2020, the university will continue to increase its support and invest 900,000CYN to aid the construction of professional cooperative communities for planting and breeding. In August, special training programs will be organized for local managerial staff and rural industry leaders at the Rural Rejuvenation College (Huangyan) of Tongji University.
In Yunlong People's Hospital, the annual "Tongji Yunlong Medical Week" was going on. Doctors from Tongji Hospital affiliated to Tongji University have provided medical services in different ways such as surgical demonstrations, ward visits for teaching purposes, discussion of difficult cases, and specialized clinics. In the past 7 years, Tongji Hospital, Tongji East Hospital, Tongji Pulmonary Hospital, and Tongji Stomatological Hospital have dispatched more than 17 batches of 170 medical experts to Yunlong for assistance. They trained more than 3,200 local doctors and built local medical teams for Yunlong County.
At the construction site of the relocation project of Yunlong No. 1 Middle School, the research team asked about the construction progress and the school's future development plan. Poverty alleviation through education is a core measure to stop poverty from passing one generation after another. In 2020, the university will build two smart classrooms for Yunlong No. 1 Middle School after its relocation for online technology to enter the classroom, and start the transformation of teaching methods so that Yunlong students will get better education.
After the field investigation, a seminar was held on the work of Tongji University at Yunlong County. DUAN Dongmei outlined the poverty alleviation work in Yunlong County and the effectiveness of Tongji University's assistance, and raised problems to be solved.
During the seminar, XU Jianping, deputy party secretary of the university, and ZHANG Zhiyong, head of the organizational department of the county, and ZUO Ruiji, deputy county governor signed an Agreement on Funding of Special Training Project for Comprehensive Capability Building of Leaders in Yunlong County 2020 and an Agreement on Smart Classroom Construction Project of the Yunlong No. 1 Middle School, the amount of which reached 1.1 million CYN.
LI Ping, governor of Dali Prefecture, said that the fight against poverty in the education system has started, and Tongji University will bring tangible assistance and investment to the development of Yunlong County. In the next stage of the fight against poverty, we will continue to focus on targeted projects and help more young people below the poverty line. We will continue to work together by joining hands in strengthening the cooperative work at regional and other levels. We will also draw expertise in research, think-tank services, communication from Tongji University in summarizing the excellent practices of poverty alleviation. We will promote China experience in its successful poverty alleviation to the world.
According to CHEN Jie, 2020 is the year to end poverty and to achieve the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way. People at Tongji were excited to learn that Yunlong County had withdrawn from the list of poverty-stricken counties. This pleasant result was achieved through joint efforts by people at Yunlong County. For eight years, the two sides of the university and Yunlong Country worked closely together and witnessed the rapid development of Yunlong. Looking to the future, disappearance from the list marked a starting point for Yunlong people's new life. Tongji University will implement the requirements of the central government and continue to provide Yunlong with more support and help by means of education, planning, talents, science and technology, and medical treatment. The university will help transform its spiritual and material resources into a powerhouse for Yunlong's continuous development, and help Yunlong to embark on the road to rural prosperity.
ZHOU Ye, who worked as a shadow vice governor of Yunlong County, SUN Yujie, First Party Secretary of Yong'an Village, and people from different departments of Tongji University including the Promotion Department, Discipline Inspection Office, President Office, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University Architectural Design and Research Institute (Group) Co., Ltd., Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute participated in the investigation.(photo by Jiang Ping)