At noon every day, Zhang Guoyu, Party secretary of Kunniushan village, in the southwestern province of Guizhou, prepares to feed her 50-plus pigs. She has led her fellow villagers in making money from the pork industry for many years.
Her years of hard work have left Zhang’s palms looking unusually rough. “To get things done, one should fear neither hardship nor fatigue, nor even death,” she said.
“This is the lesson the Red Army left for our village where they had a bloody battle and safeguarded the people during the Long March (1934-36). We would not have the life we have today if it had not been for the Red Army.”
In Chinese, Kunniushan means “a place with complex terrain where oxen lose their way”. On Oct 16, 1934, to eliminate a group of enemy soldiers who were chasing them, a division of Red Army soldiers lured the enemy to Kunniushan, which lay in the opposite direction to the main body of the troops. More than 800 Red Army soldiers died in the ensuing battle.
“We are grateful to the Red Army; their spirit of enduring hardship lasts forever. In recent years, we have been carrying on the ‘Red Army spirit’ and devoting ourselves to poverty alleviation efforts in the village,” Zhang said.
In 2017, as village head, she took advantage of the government’s poverty alleviation fund to set up an agricultural cooperative for local farmers, mainly specializing in raising pigs and growing plums.
In 2016 and 2017, the village used 794,000 yuan ($124,000) of the funds to support the two activities. The development helped the villagers make money, and in 2017, Kunniushan was officially lifted out of poverty.
Currently, the cooperative slaughters more than 1,000 pigs a year, while the plum cultivation area covers 13.33 hectares. Between 2018 and 2020, dividends totaling more than 81,000 yuan were distributed.
Shen Yiqin, secretary of the Communist Party of China Guizhou Provincial Committee, said that in 1934, Kunniushan witnessed the martyrs’ heroic stance of absolute loyalty, firm conviction, selfless sacrifice and people-centered devotion, and the Red Army spirit will last long in the village.
According to Zhang, the village will continue to develop its pig-raising and plum-cultivation activities to ensure steady incomes for the residents. In addition, it plans to open a fruit-picking garden where 1.33 hectares of cherries, 1 hectare of waxberries and 0.67 hectares of grapes will be planted.
Based on local history, it also plans to develop revolution-themed Red tourism to attract visitors and boost economic development, she said.