Memoir Excerpt from famous writer Wang Ding Jun about ‘Wanxi’

I have been admiring Wanxi for a long time. I have known the name of Pie Tingfang since I was a child. When I was in elementary school, the textbook talked about local autonomy movement and listed three model areas for local self-government, one in Shanxi, one in Guangxi, and one in Wanxi. Our impression of local autonomy is that Pie was in charge of Wanxi, the central government had no authority over him.

Wanxi seems to be another world. I fell in love with the road there at first sight. At that time, the road construction technique was that the road was high in the middle and low on both sides. It had a small curvature and was shaped like a fish back. As far as I can see, only the roads in Wanxi meet this standard. The cars came and went back and forth all night long, the road surface remained undamaged; trees  lined straight with pleasant shades along both sides of the road, without any single fallen leaf on the road. They protect the roads so carefully; the roads are divided into sections, and were taken care in by the residents of the villages along the road. They swept the road every day. After the heavy rains, they immediately filled the potholes and sprinkled with fine sand. What would never happen was that the iron wheeled  oxcart passed on the road.

There were several rivers originated from Foo-new Mountain and flowed from north to south. We saw stone dams in the river, grassy beaches on both sides along the rivers, and ditches in the fields. They built water reservoirs and improved the river to increase the production of fields. We also saw two rows of willows on the banks of the river. These trees did not stand upright vertically. Each one was slightly tilted outwards. Looking from distance, the riverbed was like a bird’s back, and the willow branches were like bird wings. This was the exact famous goose-winged willow.

Look at those villages! Every village was covered in green, and every single household cultivated silkworms. Silkworms came after the mulberry, just like silk came after silkworms. They hired experts to instruct them with sericulture.When silk was produced, money came after. Therefore, the farmers in Wanxi were pretty well off.

The Wanxi militia is well known throughout the country. In the case of Neixiang County, each village is enlisted in the army and every man of service age has weapons. They usually have their own occupation, and take part in regular military training. Once something happens, signal shots will be fired, thousands of armed soldiers will gather can within just half day. Armed forces. In this small and secluded society, not only can the bandits not exist, even the Kuomintang army that passes the border, if they disturbs the local Wanxi people, they will be  immediately surrounded by the militia.

It is often said that “The more soldiers the less fruits.” But my most profound impression of Wanxi is those beautiful fruits, which represent the dignity of the peasants, the protection of their property, and the realized dream of  peace and prosperity.

Notes: 1.  Wanxi refers to West Yvuania.

2.  ‘The more soldiers the less fruits’ means, during the wartime, people will suffer from lack of food because they have to provide for the army.