Hot Spring Leisure City [Photo/Qianlong]
Hot Spring Leisure City (“Wendu Shuicheng” in Chinese) is almost a household name in Beijing. As a national 4A tourist resort, it attracts visitors all the year around. However, not many people know the village where it is located. The village is Zhenggezhuang.
Like many Chinese villages, Zhenggezhuang is named after a family name. Founded in the Ming Dynasty about six hundred years ago, it was formerly known as Zhengjiazhuang and changed to Zhenggezhuang after the founding of People’s Republic of China. The village had a glorious past during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1429-1764) when royal stable, warehouse and an imperial city were once built here. With the imperial city being demolished in as early as 1764, the former glory of the village was blurred and lost in history. However, Zhenggezhuang is shining again today as “Beijing’s most beautiful village”. Recently, it has just won the title of “one of the ten internationally famous villages of China in 2016”.
The Long Well in Emperor Kangxi Temporary Palace [Photo/Qianlong]
A model of the overall planning of Zhenggezhuang outside the village’s exhibition hall offers a panoramic view of the village. Composed of altogether four parts - technology area, tourism area, education area and residential area, the village has already had most of the projects within these areas completed.
A model of the overall planning of Zhenggezhuang [Photo/Qianlong]
With Beijing’s mother river – Wenyu River running to the north of the village and situated to due north of Beijing’s central axis, Zhenggezhuang village in Beiqijia township in Changping district enjoys special geographical advantages.
Location of Zhenggezhuang Village [Photo/Qianlong]
Before the reform and opening up, villagers of Zhenggezhuang totally depended on agriculture and they struggled to make ends meet, let alone improving the environment of the village.
The village piloted agriculture contract responsibility system in Pingxifu administration area in 1979 and carried out the rural household contract responsibility system with remuneration in 1984. At the same time, plants like flour mill and food factory appeared in Zhenggezhuang. It is worth mentioning that an earthwork construction team of over a dozen young villagers was founded in 1986 with its first secondhand backhoe excavator bought with borrowed money. It was this construction team, the predecessor of today’s Beijing Hongfu Group that paved the way for the village to wealth.
Fund raisng agreement of the earthwork construction team founded by villagers of Zhenggezhuang [Photo/Qianlong]
After over 20 years’ development, Zhenggezhuang has developed from an agriculture oriented village to a village with multiple industries like construction industry, technology industry, tourism industry, cultural and creative industry, trade industry, healthcare industry, aged care industry and property management. Not only all the 700 local laborers turned into industrial workers but also over 12,000 more jobs have been created.
Hot Spring Leisure City Gold Cane aged care apartment [Photo/Qianlong]
The urbanization of Zhenggezhuang started in 1998. After the old village rebuilding, villagers moved into apartments which has not only increased per capital living space of the villagers (about 70 square meters) but also saved land for industrial reconstruction. Qingqing, a native of the village, said, “In the downtown area most families cram in small apartments, but in our village every family live in apartments of over 100 square meters and we also have additional apartments for rental. It’s more comfortable to live in the village than in the city.”
A contrast of the old village and new village of Zhenggezhuang [Photo/Qianlong]
“Besides our salary and rental apartment income, we also have annual dividend and enjoy many benefits, and the present annual per capita net income of our village is 70,000 yuan (USD 10,496),” Qingqing added with great pride, “We didn’t sell our land but entrusted it to companies and they pay us rental fee. All our expenses on water, heating, gas and children’s education (from kindergarten to college) can be reimbursed to us.” What she mentioned refers to the reform of property rights and welfare system of the village. After property rights reform, companies, village committee and villagers hold shares in companies together, and thus they receive dividends every year. In addition to various living subsidies, villagers of Zhenggezhuang also enjoy medical insurance, pension and unemployment insurance, etc.
A shopping mall in Zhenggezhuang [Photo/Qianlong]
With fast economic growth, Zhenggezhuang never forgets to protect environment and save energy. It has built a sewage treatment plant with a daily treatment capacity of 4,000 tons’ sewage as well as a rainwater recycling system. The recycled water not only supplies water to the moat and Xiushuihu Park but also is used for green space irrigation and groundwater recharging.
Today villagers of Zhenggezhuang are living and working in peace and contentment. Meanwhile they are also enjoying colorful cultural life. Dancing, sports meeting, joint performance as well as junior college classes for adults have enriched villagers’ lives and help them develop in an allround way.
As the Chinese saying goes “If prominent, I shall spread my benevolence to others.” Zhenggezhuang exemplifies this saying with actions. It has actively participated in social events like Project Hope, reconstruction of Wenchuan after earthquake, and helping the people in need.
As an epitome of great changes in Beijing villages, Zhenggezhuang undoubtedly stands out among all villages. People might wonder why it is Zhenggezhuang. Besides its own natural conditions and insights and courage of its pioneers, what Qingqing said directly probably could give the answer, “We simply follow the policies of the state closely. For example, the state said it would promote technology industry and we developed technology industry. It is the same with aged care industry we are focusing on at present.”
Representative brands and industries of Zhenggezhuang [Photo/Qianlong]
Water City Square [Photo/Qianlong]
A road next to Torch Square [Photo/Qianlong]
Hongfu Campus of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications [Photo/Qianlong]
National flags by Lakeside Hotel [Photo/Qianlong]