TITLE=MODEL MAO VILLAGE
// EDS: can be used in relation to China's 50th
anniversary on October first //
INTRO: In the heart of China's countryside, one
village has resisted the capitalist trend that has
swept over the rest of the county and is opting,
instead, for the benefits of communal living. V-O-A
Beijing correspondent Stephanie Ho reports that the
village's authorities are relying on the socialist
principles popularized by former Chairman Mao Zedong
more than 50 years ago.
TEXT: For many Chinese, Chairman Mao is still a figure
of almost mythic proportions. He is personally
identified with the founding of the People's Republic
of China - a status with special significance this
year, as the country celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Mao died in 1976, but his spirit is alive and well in
Nanjie - a neo-communist village that lies among the
cornfields in China's most populous province, Henan.
Here, Mao is treated as a god-like figure. A ten-
meter tall statue of the Chairman presides over the
village, with one arm outstretched as if bestowing a
Nanjie's 31-hundred residents receive roughly the same
salary - about 30-dollars (250 RMB) per month. The
village provides them with free housing, schooling and
On the surface, Nanjie looks like any of China's
thousands of other villages. In the evening, as in
communities all over China, about two dozen women of
all ages amuse themselves by line-dancing to the
strains of a modern pop song.
// MUSIC - FADE IN, EST, FADE OUT //
This dancing is one of the only forms of entertainment
available, though. There are no karaoke bars. There
are no movie theaters. The model village of Nanjie is
in a time warp - where the collective values and
strict morality of the Maoist era have proven to be
the secrets to its success.
Once every three months, villagers are subject to
evaluation under a 10-star system that rewards them
for adherence to Maoist principles of thrifty living,
good hygiene and selfless deeds. For each of the ten
points a household is found to be lacking, it loses
one of its food benefits - including flour, eggs,
cooking oil and meat. Local authorities assure
visitors that only a few households hold the lowest
score of six stars.
Three times each day, the village government
broadcasts three different songs eulogizing Mao and
// SONG - FADE IN, EST, FADE OUT //
This classic song, called "The Great Helmsman Sailing
on the Seas," describes Mao as the man who
successfully led the Chinese people through turbulent
Nanjie's living local hero is Communist Party
Secretary, Wang Hongbin, who started the village down
its collective road in 1984. Its return to communism
came as the rest of China was heading in the opposite
direction and dismantling collective agriculture in
favor of private enterprise.
Although it is Mao's communist spirit that permeates
Nanjie, Mr. Wang does give some credit to an unlikely
person -- Deng Xiaoping - Mao's successor, who
launched China's capitalist-style reforms.
// WANG CHINESE ACT - IN FULL, FADE OUT //
He says that in the Deng era, Nanjie was free to
develop itself however it wanted - even if that meant
returning to a collective economy.
Although Nanjie emphasizes communal living, it has
made good use of the market economy that has emerged
in China. In 1984, the value of Nanjie's total
production was 90-thousand dollars (740-thousand RMB).
Last year, the figure jumped more than two-thousand
percent to 193-million dollars (one-point-six billion
Agriculture makes up less than one percent of Nanjie's
total production. The village now makes most of its
money from its 26 enterprises - which turn out
products ranging from beer to chocolate to color-
printing. Meantime, Nanjie has become China's instant
noodle base - producing about 400 tons each day.
Keeping all these factories going is not an easy
endeavor. Nanjie gets by with something that was not
available in Mao's day -- the help of more than 10-
thousand migrant workers, who are not granted the full
range of benefits allotted to residents.
Nanjie resident, Bi Guoping, says although villagers
respect Deng, they will not clamor any time soon for a
statue of him to go along with the heroic figure of
// BI CHINESE ACT - IN FULL, FADE OUT //
He says the main Nanjie philosophy is that a person
should be round on the outside and square on the
inside. (wai yuan, nei fang) Although he may not
think highly of Dengist ways, Mr. Bi says being round
on the outside means putting up with the more
capitalist values that have become the norm in China
after the institution of Deng's reforms. To him,
though, being square on the inside means reserving his
heart for Mao. (Signed)
26-Aug-1999 00:38 AM LOC (26-Aug-1999 0438 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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