January 15, 2024
BEIJING – A village in Sichuan has been given a new lease on life with the founding of a center for rural arts, Yang Feiyue reports.
Asmall village that was finding it hard to retain its young people has not only reversed that trend but is now finding growing appeal with young talent from elsewhere.
Bicheng, tucked away in the depths of mountains, is located in the northeast of Xuanhan county, Southwest China’s Sichuan province, as part of the environs of Baima town.
It is approximately 80 kilometers to the downtown area of Baima, and the nearest train station is a two-hour drive away.
Until recently, the majority of young people in the village would uproot themselves to pursue job opportunities in the cities, which meant the local economy and traditional culture were at a low ebb.
Everything changed when Xiang Yong and his brother decided to do something about their dilapidated family house in the village in 2015.
“The changing fortune of the village arose during a conversation with my father, as he was not happy about how things stood in the village where we were from,” says Xiang, a professor from Peking University.
“Because we don’t live there, our house had begun to fall apart. It looked quite rundown.”
As Xiang and his brother had established themselves elsewhere, the father suggested they renovate the old house for their own descendants, so the offspring would have a reminder of where the family came from.
“He said the tree stands tall with roots extending a thousand feet, and the water flows thousands of miles from its source,” says Xiang, recalling how sentimental his father was about their hometown.
Xiang and his brother, who is a businessman, decided to act on their father’s wish.