A tapestry of achievement: Eda Menpa's major shift (I)

Editor's note: The Sichuan-Tibet Plateau, a beautiful region that reaches toward the heavens, is a place showered with blue skies, covered in white clouds, and dotted with snow-covered mountains, but recently, something truly remarkable has been materializing among the households that call this place home. A groundbreaking historic change has been reshaping the land and its people. From today on, we will publish a series of stories to tell you those changes. 

The mountains with their snowy blankets are covered by the setting sun’s long shadows, giving the peaks an utterly majestic quality. The sprinkling of white clouds seem close enough for people to just reach out and grab them and hover both in the sky as well as within the hearts of anyone who witnesses their beautiful splendor. Then there is a single winding road like the tail of a long dragon extending directly to the end of the horizon. The Sichuan-Tibet Highway is known as the “Road to Heaven”, its official name being National Road No. 318, and after passing through the downtown area of Tardo (the origin of the famous “Tardo Love Ballads”), we soon arrive upon the western face of the nearby mountain, which lies at a staggering 4,962 meters (16,280 feet) above sea level. This place in Tardo’s town of Gyapa is the “first pass of Kampa”, Eda Menpa Village.

Eda Menpa village

Eda Menpa means "migrated tribe" in the Tibetan language. Nomads inhabit this area, at an average of 3,550 meters (11,647 feet) above sea level, with herder families frequently moving from place to place, always thinly dispersed across the land. This creates a significant challenge for developing better public infrastructure, and poverty is a plague that for generations was nearly impossible to shake off. With 144 people in 37 households listed as poverty-stricken in 2014 and a per capita income hovering around 1,900 yuan, not even the affluent local folk culture, customs, yak milk, tourist-inviting features, and high level of economic potential could overcome it.

Something had to happen, and it most certainly did. On August 5th of 2016, Eda Menpa Attractions was finally opened to the public. The venue showcases the Tibetan Muya culture in Sichuan Province, and its success has caused Rize, a now tremendously happy villager, to proudly exclaim, "Last year, my family was still the poorest household in the village, but now, I've become a shareholder!"

On August 24th, 2016, Eda Menpa Village welcomed a poverty relief supervision team to Tardo. Upon hearing the successes reported by the local village committee, Wang Dongming, the team leader and also party secretary of Sichuan Province, did not hesitate to affirm the tremendously remarkable changes that have been taking place.

From a poor village to a tourist hub and from being impoverished to becoming shareholders, how is it that Eda Menpa and its people have attained such great success?

The Chinese version of this story is written by Zhuhong & Zhouyu and translated into English by Huang Wenjuan. And the story is sourced from the United Front Work Deparment of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Sichuan Provincial Committee.