Five years ago, 27-year-old Jiang Lijuan made a life-changing decision. She gave up a promising designer career in Hangzhou and returned to her rural home to start her own business.
A drive to her home in Xiajiang Village, some 200 kilometers southwest of the bustling city in east China’s Zhejiang Province, offers a feast for the eyes. Traditional houses with black roof tiles and white walls, as well as newly-built bars, libraries and homestay venues line the banks of a river winding through the village.
The picturesque village, however, was once plagued by poverty and environmental destruction. Cob walls, stinky sewage and dirty pigsties are the childhood memories for many grown-ups in Xiajiang, including Jiang, who now runs a homestay with her parents.
The plight was changed by local government’s endeavors. By 2016 when Jiang returned, the village had seen its sanitation conditions well-improved, and…