Bai Shulin's family gathered around a 5G mobile phone and watched a documentary about Kucong people. From the black and white picture, Bai Shulin recognized the naked boy with a bamboo basket on his back - a 6-year-old self.
The images were taken 64 years ago when the People's Liberation Army and the Nationalities Task Force found Bai Shulin and his fathers in Ailao Mountain in Yunnan. In the picture, some adults wrap their bodies only with banana leaves.
Bai Shulin (right) watches a documentary about the Kucong people in Anfu Village, Milahu Ethnic Township, Jinping County, Yunnan Province (pictured on July 13). Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Hu Chao
Deep in the Ailao Mountains on China's southwestern frontier, there was a vast and dense forest, which was once the habitat of the Kucong people. In his poem, the Yunnan poet Gobu called the Kucong people who wandered the jungle "children left behind in the primeval forest", "dressed in leaves and animal skins, eating wild fruits, and living in sheds with banana leaves that do not shelter from wind and rain..."
Bai Shulin now sighed: "That kind of life is very far away." ”
Why is it called "Liujian Village"?
The Kucong people, which means "people on the mountains", are a branch of the Lahu ethnic group, with more than 30,000 people, mainly living in the Ailao mountains of Zhenyuan County and Jinping County in Yunnan.
In Anfu Village, Mirahu Ethnic Township, Jinping County, Yunnan Province, Bai Shulin told reporters that the little boy in the middle of the picture is himself (taken on July 13). Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Hu Chao
"Often hungry, sometimes a piece of squirrel jerky is the meal of the day; When a baby is born, the plantain leaves are roasted and the baby is quickly wrapped. The 70-year-old remains impressed by the cold and hunger of childhood jungle life.
In the early 50s of the 20th century, the Party Central Committee sent a central delegation to the southwest ethnic areas to carry out condolence activities and publicize the Party's ethnic policy, and learned about the situation of the Kucong people. Since then, the team has gone into the vast forest and sea to search. When the task force found them, the Kucong still lived an almost isolated life: hunting and wandering, drilling wood for fire, building wood for nests...
Sixty-four years ago, White Grove left his first image, which also recorded the first time he moved out of the primeval forest.
According to the county records of Jinping Miao Yao and Dai Autonomous County, from the 50s of the last century to 1963, a total of 3,739 Kucong people in Jinping moved out of the mountains and forests. The People's Liberation Army and the ethnic task force brought agricultural tools, cattle, and clothes to the Kucong. However, after leaving the mountain, because they were not accustomed to the climate and living habits below the mountain, many Kucong people returned to the mountain and forest several times.
The village where Bai Shulin lives is located in the Mirahu Ethnic Township of Jinping County, located in the southern end of Ailao Mountain. There are 489 people in 115 households in the village, and because the village site has been moved six times, it is also called "Six Moving Village" by the locals.
In 1965, the Bai Shulin family, along with the rest of the village, moved out of the jungle again. Because they were not good at farming and their grain production was low, they soon returned to the mountains and forests.
In 1968, Bai Shulin became a village cadre because of his strong learning ability and ability to speak some Chinese. Under the persuasion of the ethnic task force, Bai Shulin led the villagers out of the mountains and forests again. "At that time, the team members often stayed at my house, and as I had more contact, I learned to speak Chinese, and slowly, I firmly decided to take everyone out of the mountain."
This time, the team taught everyone to open paddy fields and plant rice, and the villagers put on cloth clothes and ate rice. However, due to an accidental mountain fire that destroyed the place where they settled, the group had no choice but to return to the mountain forest.
Since then, Bai Shulin, the leader of the villagers' group, has led the villagers to relocate three times.
In 1990, the government distributed asbestos tiles and other building materials to help villagers move out of the mountains and forests to build houses and settle down, and the task force taught everyone to grow hybrid rice. In 2000, the government built houses and resettled them uniformly, and the village was relocated once down the mountain. In 2009, due to inconvenient transportation and lack of land, with the unified resettlement and assistance of the government, the village was relocated to the current village site, which is more convenient for travel, and each family was given 4 acres of land. The village was named "Anfu Village".
This is Anfu Village, Mirahu Ethnic Township, Jinping County, Yunnan Province (drone photo). Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Hu Chao
"Anfu means stability and happiness"
"When I was a child, I looked forward to no longer being hungry every day, and I wanted to have a place to live where there was no leakage of wind and rain." Bai Shulin said that in the past, the Kucong people lived in plantain houses and thatched houses, then adobe houses, asbestos tile houses, and then brick-concrete houses and cement houses.
In addition to rice, the Kucong have also learned to grow bananas and rubber, and in recent years grass fruits, macadamias and more. "We are familiar with bananas, and we learn things in the woods quickly." After settling in Anfu Village, Bai Shulin and the villagers' money bags gradually bulged, "Anfu means stability and happiness." "The white forest born in the woods is very happy with the name of the village.
Bai Shulin's grandson, Bai Longfa, said that when he first moved in, the team members stationed in the village also taught the villagers to develop some living habits, such as brushing their teeth, folding quilts and using toilets.
"When I was young, there were no toilets in the village, so everyone found a hidden forest to solve it." Bai Longfa said that every household in Anfu Village has already used dry toilets.
Today, families in Anfu Village live in brick-concrete houses and reinforced concrete houses, and some families drive cars. "Compared with the past, the Kucong people have obviously dared to work hard over the years, and they are trying to live a better life." Wang Qiujie, the head of Jimi Township, said.
Wang Qiujie is also a Kucong person. After graduating from university in 2009, she returned to her hometown to work. She firmly believes that education and ability improvement are the key to the revitalization of Kucong village.
At present, in accordance with the government's education support policy for ethnic groups such as the Lahu people, including the Kucong people, most children of Kucong families enter high school after completing nine years of compulsory education.
In Anfu Village, Shimirahu Ethnic Township, Jinping County, Yunnan Province, Bai Longfa works on the farm (pictured on July 13). Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Hu Chao
"Online" planning for the "post-95s"
Bai Longfa, born in 1998, is one of the few high school graduates in Anfu Village. "The elders suffered from the loss of education, and they all wanted me to study well." He said.
After graduating from high school, Bai Longfa went to Shenzhen for a few years. Walking in the modern city, he missed his hometown and relatives, so he returned to Anfu Village. In February 2021, Bai Longfa was elected as the leader of the villagers' group in the general election.
Bai Longfa usually likes to surf the Internet. Clothes, small appliances, mobile phones... He basically buys daily necessities online. "The express delivery can be delivered directly to the village committee, and it is very convenient to pick it up in the past."
He said: "Many agricultural products sell well through online platforms, and I also want to learn the skills and ideas of live streaming." His "development plans" for the coming years are inseparable from the Internet: online learning to complete a university education; Open a small shop, lead villagers to do e-commerce and sell local products live.
"We have a lot of good things, bananas, macadamia nuts, ginseng fruit, as well as forsythia, star anise and other Chinese medicinal herbs, and we look forward to selling well." Bai Longfa said.
Bai Longfa also opened a clothing store near the village committee and sometimes drove his car to Kunming to buy goods. He often circles the scenery on the road, "many friends give me likes, we meet and have the opportunity to go further afield together."
Chief planner: Zhao Danping
Executive Producer: Min Jie
Coordinator: Wei Tiemin
Reporters: Yang Yaoping, Li Huaiyan, Zeng Wei, and Ziqiang
Video reporter: Zeng Wei, Hu Chao Reporter: Luo Wenbin, Bai Meng, Bi Sheng
Editor: Min Jie
Xinhua News Agency co-produced with the external Xinhua News Agency Yunnan Branch
Produced by China Story Workshop