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Tibetan Farmer Entrepreneur Sna Ding Zhu and His National Park


Wu Xiaoyang

Sina Dingzhu, a Tibetan farmer entrepreneur in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province, has built the isolated Grand Canyon of his hometown into the "Shangri-La Grand Canyon National Park" in the spirit of Yugong moving mountains for more than ten years ". He helped the villagers bid farewell to the closed and poor life, effectively protected and rationally developed the superior ecological environment and tourism resources in their hometown, and explored a way for sustainable development in ethnic minority areas.

A rich man from the depths of the canyon.

Snadingzhu was born in Bala Village, Nixi Township, Shangri-La County, Diqing Prefecture. This Tibetan village is located at the foot of the Snow Mountain of Balagzong, hidden deep in an isolated canyon. According to local elders, the ancestors of Bala Village came from a heroic tribe in Batang, Sichuan. Tired of war, the tribal leader led the people to migrate to this secret land. It is hard to imagine that such a closed place is still inhabited by humans if it is not for the reporter's own eyes.

Although it has magnificent scenery and good ecological environment, the development of Bala Village is lagging behind due to the extremely inconvenient transportation. Villager A Bing said that in the past, villagers could only take the post road on the cliff. It took two days to get out of the village. Some people had never walked out of the canyon in their lives. He also told reporters: "There is very little arable land in the village, and the food planted is always not enough to eat. It can only be supplemented by hunting and wild vegetables."

"I didn't wear shoes before I was ten years old. I went hunting with adults barefoot." The 45-year-old Snadingzhu still remembers the difficult life before. He finished elementary school in Dongwang Township because his family was too poor to continue in junior high school. But the mountains and canyons could not stop him from changing his fate. At the age of 13, he went out of his hometown to the provincial capital of Kunming, where he sold coolies on road construction sites and worked as a worker in a wood processing factory.

With a little savings, Snadingzhu went into business, and soon he discovered that he had a talent for doing business. The snowy plateau is rich in all kinds of rare fungi and medicinal materials, such as wild gastrodia elata, cordyceps sinensis, matsutake and musk, etc. Sinadingzhu returned to his hometown to buy these specialties and then sold them to foreign merchants in Kunming. Later, he went to Shangri-La County to open a catering enterprise and opened the first hardware machinery store in Diqing. In the business field for more than 20 years, Snadingzhu has accumulated tens of millions of yuan in assets and has become a well-known rich expert in his hometown.

Don't forget the villagers when you get rich, change the face of closed poverty in your hometown.

Sna Dingzhu, who got rich first, always thinks about his hometown, he said: "I'm living a good life alone, the villagers are still trapped in the mountains, no electricity, no access, no hope of getting rid of poverty and becoming rich, will I be happy?" So he secretly made up his mind: to do something for his hometown, change the face of closed poverty in his hometown.

To build a road to the outside world has been the dream of the Bala people for many years. Sina Dingzhu has seen since childhood: many children in Barra Village drop out of school due to traffic inconvenience, the fruits planted by the villagers can't be transported out to rot in the ground, and the old people can't be sent to the hospital for treatment after they get sick... He is also considering: Is it worth it to build a road for his hometown with all his personal property? How can the villagers get rich after the road is built? The rise of tourism in Diqing Tibetan area dispelled his doubts.

In September 2004, the construction of the highway from Shangqiaotou Village to Bala Village in Nixi Township, Shangri-La County broke ground. This 28-kilometer journey is not only the scenic road of Shangri-La Grand Canyon, but also the road to wealth for Barra Village and four Tibetan villages along the way. The difficulty of building a road on a cliff is so obvious that Snadingzhu's relatives and friends think he is crazy, and some say he will eventually lose his fortune.

But instead of being intimidated by the difficulties, he became more determined. From planning and design to project construction and supervision, he must do everything in the bidding work, so as to save construction funds as much as possible on the basis of ensuring the quality of the project. In the financial difficulties, in order to make the road construction smoothly, Snadingzhu had to reluctantly sell the catering enterprises and hardware machinery sales department operating in the county.

On January 1, 2008, Barra Village ushered in a historic moment: the realization of access, electricity and telephone. The old branch secretary of Bala Village, La Rong Qilin, said that on this day the villagers sang and danced to celebrate ceremoniously, and presented white hada to Sna Dingzhu. The excited villagers kept pulling the light bulb switch, and someone called their relatives far away. Report this exciting news. At this moment, Sna Dingzhu shed tears of happiness.

At the end of June 2009, the main part of the road in Bala Village was paved with asphalt. Nowadays, the time from Bala Village to the county seat has been shortened from the previous three days to one and a half hours; many villagers work on the construction site, and the annual income of each household has increased from 1000 or 2000 yuan to about 30000 yuan. Sna Dingzhu told reporters that this road made five villages bid farewell to closure and poverty. The road construction cost more than 8000 million yuan, and he did not ask the government for a penny.

Successful creation of national parks and exploration of sustainable development

Since the end of the last century, the tourism industry in Diqing Tibetan area has risen rapidly, and a large number of tourists from home and abroad have come to Diqing to find the last paradise and holy land on earth. Snadingzhu realized that this was an opportunity for the leapfrog development of Barra Village: snow-capped mountains, glaciers, natural pagodas, alpine pastures, lakes as clear as a mirror, canyons with thousands of walls, legendary Tibetan villages ...... Isn't the combination of these elements the "Shangri-La" that people are looking?

At the end of 1999, Sna Dingzhu registered and established Balagzong Eco-tourism Development Co., Ltd., and began the development and construction of Balagzong scenic spot. He invited experts from Yunnan Normal University and Yunnan Environmental Science Research Center to conduct field visits, and compiled the overall plan and feasibility study report of the Balagzong Scenic Area, which was successively reviewed and approved by experts organized by the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration and the Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

Since 2003, the scenic area has entered the formal construction stage. In addition to the road leading to Barra Village, a Tibetan-style hotel has been built in the scenic area, a 5-kilometer-long drifting river has been dredged, and a several-kilometer-long canyon sightseeing plank road has been built. At present, the first phase of the construction of the scenic spot has been completed, with a total investment of 0.16 billion yuan. The scenic spot has opened in September 2007, and Shangri-La Grand Canyon National Park has also been listed.

Awa, director of Diqing Tourism Bureau, said that tourism is one of the pillar industries supported by Diqing Prefecture. The focus of scenic spot development is to build five national parks in the great Shangri La area. Shangri La Grand Canyon National Park is one of them and the only scenic spot named after "Shangri La. He said that the national park model is relatively mature in the world and is still in the exploratory stage in mainland China. Its purpose is to explore the road of benign interaction between protection and development. It should have four functions: ecological protection, tourism display, environmental science education and community benefit.

The reporter learned from an interview that the Gangqu River in the Balagzong Scenic Area is rich in hydropower resources. A hydropower company in Yunnan wanted to build several levels of hydropower stations on this river. It has repeatedly found Snading Pearl to discuss, but he politely declined. Snadingzhu said that it is easy for him to make money. He can build a power station in partnership with others, but this will completely destroy the superior ecological environment and tourism resources of Shangri La Grand Canyon, which is the last thing he wants to see.

Snadingzhu told reporters that his company employs more than 120 employees, most of whom are local residents. In the near future, the second phase of the construction project will be implemented, including a four-star hotel, the scenic ring road and the improvement of supporting facilities. He told reporters: "the dream of changing the face of poverty in my hometown has come true, and now I have a bigger dream, that is, to build my hometown into a world-class eco-tourism resort and show the beauty of my hometown to more people in front of the world."

Snadingzhu, Tibetan farmer entrepreneur, Shangri-La Grand Canyon National Park

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