- Title: City dwellers drawn to the simple life of rural China commune
- Date: 30th December 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 30-YEAR-OLD FOUNDER OF ANOTHERCOMMUNITY, TANG GUANHUA, SAYING: "We came to this place around 2015 and started to explore such a sustainable way of living. We hope to make such a community a model of our ideal life, and a model of collective life. Here you can try the life you want to live. Also you can try to find out what you really want and what kind of life you want to pursue. This is the reason we want to do it here together." FARMLAND AND RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS IN THE VILLAGE EXTERIOR OF WORKSTATION OF THE COMMUNITY VARIOUS OF XING ZHEN USING KUDZU FIBER TO SPIN KUDZU FIBER ON PLATE AND PRODUCTS MADE FROM KUDZU (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 34-YEAR-OLD CO-FOUNDER OF ANOTHERCOMMUNITY, XING ZHEN, SAYING: "We may have to take 10 to 20 years to do such an experiment. We want to see how we can live a life with low expenditure, low desire and low emission without thresholds as long as everyone's willing to. People can come here and see how to live together in such a place." MEMBERS GATHERING IN THE WORKSHOP XING TEACHING TWO OTHER MEMBERS HOW TO MAKE SOAP XING MIXING MATERIALS IN A POT XING POURING OUT THE MIXTURE INTO EACH MOULD ZHAO PUTTING MOULD INTO A BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 35-YEAR-OLD CO-FOUNDER OF ANOTHERCOMMUNITY, XING ZHEN, SAYING: "In this day and age, I feel that China needs such a group of people to do such a community exploration, and it needs this force. Because my friends often come and say, 'oh, I feel very comfortable here.' I think it is good that it provides a place where people can experience healing." VARIOUS OF WANG ZHENXING WALKING ON A PATH IN MOUNTAIN WITH TWO BAMBOO BASKETS WOODEN HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAIN WANG PUTTING DOWN THE BASKET AND TAKING OUT JAR AND OTHER STUFF PICKLED ROSELLE BEING PLACED ON THE DISH WANG PLACING DISHES ON A SMALL TABLE VARIOUS OF MEMBERS EATING LUNCH TOGETHER (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 34-YEAR-OLD MEMBER OF ANOTHERCOMMUNITY, WANG ZHENXING, SAYING: "After I came here I found out that I can do things I want on this piece of land. To put it in a deeper perspective, through this land and things I do here, it enables me to generate my own thoughts and ideas. I find it very meaningful, or quite interesting from my point of view. So right now I still keep on doing it, in my own way and at my own pace." VARIOUS OF WANG WALKING INTO HIS ROSELLE FIELD VARIOUS OF WANG CUTTING ROSELLE SEPALS AND THROWING THEM INTO A BASKET (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 34-YEAR-OLD MEMBER OF ANOTHERCOMMUNITY, WANG ZHENXING, SAYING: "Actually I think we face bigger challenges after coming here. So that's why many people don't last long. That is to say, it is more complicated and more difficult to survive in this place than living in the city. In fact, you need a lot of strength every day to build a future. So I think it's a bit (difficult). Sometimes in some aspects, it is okay to say that this is a Buddhist style of life. But I think it is still a positive attitude for life." VARIOUS OF WANG REMOVING THE CORE IN ROSELLE SEPALS WITH TOOL WANG'S FACE WANG REMOVING ROSELLE CORE WANG TAKING AWAY THE BAMBOO TRAY VARIOUS OF WANG SHAKING TRAY TO DRY ROSELLE SEPALS IN THE SUN TO DRY THEM
- Embargoed: 13th January 2020 00:22
- Keywords: China Fujian Fuzhou anothercommunity community sustainable life village village commune
- Location: GUANZHONG VILLAGE, FUZHOU, FUJIAN PROVINCE, CHINA
- City: GUANZHONG VILLAGE, FUZHOU, FUJIAN PROVINCE, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Living / Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA003BC64C3R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING
Yang Zhaoyu quit his job in a big Chinese city nine months ago and moved to a small community that preaches sustainable living and mindful consumption.
The 30-year-old former software developer lived a predictable life which included going to college, getting married, and finding a stable job in a big city.
But Yang found himself wanting something different, so he ditched his career in Suzhou, west of Shanghai and started a new life in an isolated community centred around sustainability and organic farming.
"I just want to completely give up the old life, or find a totally new way of life," said Yang.
He also left his wife, at least temporarily, who declined to join him on his journey. She was supportive though, he said.
China's teeming megacities have drawn hundreds of millions of people from rural villages and small towns in search of jobs and wealth, but people like Yang are part of an emerging trend in the opposite direction.
A recent poll of people aged 18-35 by a state think-tank found 52% of those living in smaller towns and cities moved there after spending on average three years in top-tier cities, to get away from the fast pace of life.
Known as AnotherCommunity, Yang's new home is an hour's drive outside of Fuzhou city in Fujian province in southwest China, and located in Guanzhong village. It was set up by Tang Guanhua, 30, and his wife, Xing Zhen, 35, in late 2015.
After a year at AnotherCommunity, residents can vote to have a say in its affairs and use shared funds and resources. There are currently five permanent members and 34-year-old Wang Zhenxing is one of them.
Wang had a job as administrive staff in a private school in Beijing, but for the last four years he has been living in the community. He's been working on the land growing rice and roselle which he shares with the community or sells online.
"Through this land and things I do here, it enables me to generate my own thoughts and ideas," said Wang. "I find it very meaningful, or quite interesting from my point of view."
The commune is now opening its doors to the public for a four-month trial. Since mid-October, over 20 potential residents - from former computer programmers to online English teachers and freelance videographers - have signed up to join.
Critics say commune life is "unambitious" and influences society in a negative way. But Wang disagrees.
"It is more complicated and more difficult to survive in this place than living in the city. In fact, you need a lot of strength every day to build a future," he says.
Chinese media is full of stories about people seeking alternative lifestyles in the countryside.
But the utopia is not free from troubles. In 2018, AnotherCommunity had to destroy much of what they had built due to pressure from the local government, though in recent months they have been left alone.
A newspaper reported in 2018 that a young woman had moved into the Zhongnan Mountains in Shanxi province seeking a hermit life. Her story went viral on social media after she was forcibly evicted. Those mountains have since attracted young people from all over China. At one point, the community had over 600 residents, many former city dwellers, according to media reports.
The regional government, irked by what they saw as an incursion, tore down the illegal structures.
(Production: Irene Wang)
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