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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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My Trip to Zhuishikou Village

Zhuishikou Village is located 1 km west of Tailing ( one of the 13 Ming Tombs ) at Changling Township, Changping District, 50 kms north of Beijing proper. The village is sandwiched by the hills with a stream in front of its entrance. The air is fresh there. This village is one of the 30 villages under Changling Township in Changping District. There are 140 households in the village with about 450 villagers.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
Ms Wang is one of the village heads. She is in charge of the village's cooperative organization and family birth planning. Almost each village has a cooperative organization, through which, peasants can negotiate effectively with other economic bodies and establish a stable contractual relationship, helping themselves get into profitable fields like buying and selling, financing and supermarkets. Since China implemented family planning policies in the 1970s, excessive birth rates have occurred mostly in rural areas where the attitude of viewing sons as superior to daughters still prevails. Those who are against the family planning poliy will expect a unfordable fine. But now rural people get a better life. Some wealthy couples and celebrities are willing to pay the heavy fine to have larger families. So family planning is a tough job! Every village has a village family planning committee to be responsible for the family birth control. Ms Wang says under the big frame of China family planning, Beijing local government has its unique regulation. For example, in the remote mountainous areas, people can have a second child to supplement the labour. She says this year Ms.Dou Qianqian, a only daughter has been entilted a student bonuse of RMB 2000 when she was enrolled at Changping Medical School both because her parents have given up having a second child and the local government has implemented a new incentive policy of " Girls love ".

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
Mr. Zhang ( on the left ), a Zhuishikou Village head, is one of the tens of thousands college-graduate village officials across the country. From June 2005, the Chinese government has encouraged college graduates to work in rural areas aiming at placing at least one college graduate in every village within three to five years. College graduates are more knowledgeable and open-minded. Their work in villages is helpful in speeding up overall rural development. This year China reiterates the policy of encouraging college graduates and secondary vocational school graduates to work in villages to facilitate rural development. This year in Beijing, 3,000 college graduates are chosen to work as village heads. The shrinking job market in urban areas has also made more college graduates choose to work in rural areas since the government promised them priority when looking for new jobs in governmental departments or big companies after three years of service in villages.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
At the entrance to Ms. Wang's courtyard home. The old woman in the middle is Ms. Wang's mother in law - Grandma Hu.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
In their spacious living room, I had a nice chat with Grandma Hu ( Ms. Wang's mother in law ). To my surprise, she is very friendly, hospitable and open-minded. From the short talk, I feel Grandma Hu lives a happy and carefree life here.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
Grandma Hu warmly showed me around the courtyard. First she took me to her bedroom. My god! So big, so clean! "big" and "clean" are the two words coming out of my mind when I see her room. I find the bed is a typical bed in the rural areas in norther China -- "Kang"! The kang is a long sleeping platform made of bricks or other forms of material. Its interior cavity, leading to a flue, channels the exhaust from a wood or coal stove. Whenever it is too cold, the heat of the cooking fire could be used for keeping warm.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
Grandma Hu proudly pointed to the wall and said that all the certificates of awards were won by her granddaughter. These prize certificates reminds me of the past when I used to post my certificates on the wall to when I was a child. Now it is out of fashion in the urban cities to certificates posting.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
Old-Style Furniture in Grandma Hu's bedroom.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
Ms. Wang family's dinning room.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
On one village home wall, we find some interesting painted poster encouraging people to pay respect to the old and love the kids. Detailed informaton on how to get the only child certificate for family planning and how to prepare the new baby listed in the household etc.

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
These big Chinese characters on the wall pinpoints the aim of the Communist Party organization building of the village - Five "Good":
1. Good Village Leading Team
2. Good Party Cadres
3. Good working system
4. Good performance in boosting the village development
5. Good feedbck from the villagers

My Trip to Zhuishikou Village
The village lane in front of the Zhuishikou Village Committee. The village committee is a top leading organ in a village.

After visiting Ms. Wang's home, I mentioned to her that in future we would bring some international visitors to her village after climbing the Great Wall, she said she welcomed foreign friends to come to her family for a tea break then.

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