On May 16, the Yunnan Poverty Alleviation Office announced that Lyuchun was one of 31 counties that had been removed from its list of poverty-stricken counties.
In the mountainous county, the remote Datou village, with 168 people from the Lahu ethnic group, was once considered one of the poorest.
According to the local government, each villager had 0.01 hectares of arable land and 1,600 yuan of disposable income in 2016. Some of them lived in wooden houses covered in plastic and most villagers did not understand Mandarin.
In 2017, the local government dispatched a working team to help lift the villagers out of poverty.
They guided the villagers to level arable land, channel tap water into houses, surface village roads, and built playrooms, public toilets and a public square for outdoor activities. All the locals moved into a new apartment complex in 2017.
The working team has also been helping the locals to cultivate crops. They guided the villagers to plant black fungus and tea, and introduced them to leading agricultural enterprises to help with sales of their harvest. The local government said they encouraged the locals to also develop and plant rice and corn, and breed fish, pigs and chickens.
A presentation ceremony is held every month to award prizes to those who have a good work ethic and performance, while the names of lazy villagers are also made public on another list, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.
The working group regularly holds tug of war, singing and planting competitions for the villagers to encourage and motivate them.
Last year, each household raised their income by 3,000 yuan ($420) and the village added 11 hectares to its tea plantation and 0.67 hectares to its black fungus field.