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Changes of 70 years in the eyes of herdsman Jampa: witness from China's highest altitude township

  • Source : VTIBET.com Author : Liu Yinan Time : 08/09/2019 Editor : Liu Yinan

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    Jampa and his wife enjoy a leisurely time in their new house. The living room is neatly arranged with complete sets of Tibetan-styled furniture and modern appliances, which looks very comfortable. By the warm stove, Jampa sits on a sofa and drinking buttered tea, as well as his little grandson plays by the side. Xinhua reported. 

     

    This is a warm scene of a herdsman's family in Puma Changtang, the highest altitude township in China. In contrast to this is the harsh outdoor living environment. At 5,373 meters above sea level, the air contains less than 40 percent of sea level oxygen and the average annual temperature is below zero degrees Celsius in here. 

     

    The old couple live together with their daughter and the family has 50 yaks and 130 sheep. In recent years, his son-in-law has bought two trucks to run a transportation business. 

     

    At present, 52 of the 1,036 people in the township are over 60 years old. Born in 1949, Jampa is a peer of the PRC(People’s Republic of China). The cold and anoxic environment caused his memory to decline, but the changes in his life over the past 70 years were unforgettable. 

     

    Jampa was born into a serf family. His mother and younger sister died early, and his father grazed for serf owners all the year round. "I lived with my father in a straw room with only a small stove and ate stale tsamba (roasted highland barley flour)." He said. 

     

    After the democratic reform of Tibet, 5 yaks and 30 sheep were distributed to Jampa's family. In 1969, he was sent to study medicine in Lhoka Prefecture and later became a township doctor. He still vividly remembers that his first salary was 9 yuan, "it was quite a lot of money at that time, and my life improved a lot." 

     

    Studying medicine freed him from earning a living and he met his lifelong lover. Recalling their love affairs, the old couple laugh sweetly. Life was not rich, but the old couple have always been sharing happinesses and sorrows. 

     

    Benefited from the country's reform and opening up policy, herdsmen's life in snow-covered plateau have been changed dramatically after 1978. Since 2006, Tibet has carried out housing project for low-income farmers and herdsmen, hence Jampa's family moved from straw houses to earth-stone structure's dwellings. 

     

    Since the 18th CPC national congress, the production and living conditions of herdsmen in Puma Changtang township have been greatly improved thanks to the care of the Party Central Committee and the efforts of the township Party committee as well as the government. The annual net income per capita increased from 4,016 yuan in 2011 to 13,352 yuan in 2018, and the township was successfully lifted out of poverty by the end of 2018. 

     

    Villagers from four villages of Puma Changtang township have moved into new houses so far, while those from the remaining two villages are expected to move into new homes in October this year. Hu Fengbao, head of the township said, "compared with the original earth-stone structure's houses, the reinforced concrete structure is stronger, warmer and more comfortable." 

     

    Nowadays, the well-off village has access to electricity, water, roads and the Internet. 

     

    "Subsidies for border residents and grasslands, pensions, wages for pasture supervisors..."a series of policies Jampa listed out that have benefited for his family and helped increase their income to more than 60,000 yuan a year. 

     

    In recent years, Puma Changtang has been better known for its popular scenic spots of Gangbo glacier and PumuYumtso. The next step, the township plans to improve the transportation and tourist facilities in scenic spots so that the locals can increase income through developing tourism as soon as possible. 

     

    "Thanks to the Party and the government, life is getting better every day."Jampa said, they will work harder in the future to continue their happy life. 

     

     

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