Wang Lvzhou interviews a villager in the poverty stricken mountain area of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Wang Lvzhou rides a bike home after finishing her night duty at midnight. “It takes me about half an hour to get back to my home near Gulou from work, and there are few people in the street but the city is in a blaze and looks quite beautiful,” Wang said. “Beijing is fit for cycling. There is no traffic jam and you can appreciate the landscape while cycling,” she added.
Wang comes from New Zealand. In 2009 she was sent to Beijing by her company and stayed in the city for three months. “I knew nobody at all when I first came to Beijing but I made many friends after three months. I found Beijing was full of life, the transport was convenient and there was so much delicious food and fun,” Wang recalled. Thus the moment she returned to New Zealand she resigned from the company and came back to Beijing again.
Wang works as a foreign expert for a news agency now. Not long ago she went to the villages in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for interview and she found many true stories about how the local people shook off poverty. “The experience was stunning. There used to be a poverty stricken village. A local man decided to develop tourism in his hometown after working in the cities for several years. He founded a cooperative, applied for government subsidy, organized the villagers to build roads and helped relocate the villagers to a nearby town. With the development of tourism, villagers can get bonuses from the cooperative and open restaurants and hotels or find other jobs. The man’s three daughters who had worked in Guangzhou also went back to the village together with their husbands,” said Wang.
Wang believes that she can learn about China in a thorough way through what she saw for herself. Her work is to pass what she saw and heard on to others and help the outside world know China better.
Wang once lived in crowded hutong for over six years. “Today many illegal buildings have been dismantled in Beijing and the city becomes much cleaner. Places like Qianmen and Sanlihe have been restored to their former looks,” Wang said.
Wang likes her job for an important reason that she could see the ideas and thinking of the government behind the phenomena. “Many people don’t understand why the government intends to do the things, but I can see the deeper reasons and know that the government wants people to live better lives,” she explained.
Her life in Beijing is becoming better and better. Wang got acquainted with her husband, a movie music producer who owns his own company, through a friend. Her husband often cooks Chinese food for her. “He sometimes adds tofu to a pizza to make a fusion of the East and the West,” said Wang.
Wang likes doing night duty and in this way she can go out to have fun with her friends in the day. “Beijing has many small communities like Gulou where you may dine, shop and amuse yourself with no need to go far. It’s quite a different case in my hometown where most people live in the suburbs far away from the downtown and cities are also decentralized. Shops close at five in the afternoon and then you can see few people in streets throughout the city,” she compared. Wang is infatuated with Beijing’s liveliness. “Beijing is a city with profound culture and the people living here know how to enjoy life. There are numerous concerts and sports events and people can always find the way to relax themselves after work,” she explained.
At first, Wang only planned to stay in Beijing for a while and she never expected that she would live here for eight years. “My husband is here, I work here and I live here. I feel Beijing is like my home more and more,” Wang said.
Wang Lvzhou and her husband. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
A photo of Houhai taken by Wang Lvzhou while she was jogging in the morning. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Wang Lvzhou cycles in Huairou. [Photo provided to Qianlong]