On April 25, 2019, at the 125th Canton Fair, a beautiful girl sitting in a wheelchair enthusiastically introduced products in her booth to buyers. She wore a badge on her chest reading exhibitor Yang Shuting. Her beauty and the wheelchair formed a strong contrast. A foreign buyer, after enquiring her in detail the production and price of a bag, said to her: “You are great!” Yang Shuting replied with a bright smile: “It’s not me, but my country. The Canton Fair gave me the opportunity to be here.”
A Beautiful Girl Whose Life Was Changed by a Disaster
One night in 2011, the beautiful Miao nurse Yang Shuting became high paraplegic due to a car accident and could no longer take care of herself. The high cost of treatment made this optimistic and cheerful girl lose the courage to live. At that time, the local government listed her family as a poverty-stricken household, and gave her family timely financial assistance. After experiencing the painful period, the beautiful girl who is eager to do well in everything was not resigned to becoming a useless person, and began to start a business with the Internet. With one month of efforts, she finally earned 7.7 CNY. The 7.7 CNY reignited the fire of hope for her life and became the name of the company she founded later.
When Yang Shuting cheered up and started her business, local poverty alleviation officials found her deeds and supported her in terms of policies and funds, thereby helping her set up an artificial flower, luggage and bag processing factory. Yang Shuting quickly gathered a group of like-minded partners, several of whom are disabled. “General Manager Yang help me recover confidence. My work brings me the dignity of life,” said Xiao Minghui, a worker suffering from polio.
Yang said that in producing artificial flowers, luggage and bags, workers don’t have to move around, which is suitable for people with walking difficulties. She has established poverty alleviation workshops in two villages to provide employment opportunities for poor households and disabled people. Since 2016, enterprises founded by Yang Shuting have helped 386 poverty-stricken households and 1,390 people get rid of poverty. On September 20, 2019, Yang Shuting won the 2019 National Award of Poverty Alleviation.
“I am an ordinary girl from a mountain village. It’s truly hard to realize my dream after suffering that huge disaster. It is the poverty alleviation policy of the Communist Party of China and all the poverty alleviation workers that have supported me all the way. In particular, the Canton Fair has given me the opportunity to regain my new life. I put all my feelings in the hard work together with them and in poverty alleviation!” Yang Shuting said.
The Canton Fair Gave the Girl Soaring Wings
Yang Shuting told us about her experience in the Canton Fair in a wheelchair.
After the factory was built, some of the products were sold with the help of well-wishers. However, due to the closed environment, backward production process and single product style, the products were quickly unsalable. Seeing that the products were piled up in mountains, some poor households quietly wiped their tears, and Yang Shuting was particularly anxious. She was not herself anymore, but working together with a group of disabled people and poor villagers. If the products couldn’t sell, they had to find another way to make a living. She bore heavy responsibilities, but can’t do anything about it.
The plight of the enterprise caught the attention of poverty alleviation workers. The mission of officials of the Ministry of Commerce that worked in Chengbu County, Hunan Province was to help young people in the county start a business, promote local products in other places, drive the development of local industries, and help local people get out of poverty. Just at that time, the policy of “poverty alleviation through the Canton Fair” was launched.
The policy is one of the key business-based poverty alleviation initiatives meticulously planned and designed by the Ministry of Commerce. Since the 122nd session in 2017, the Canton Fair has exempted exhibitors from all state-level poverty-stricken counties from booth fees, and set up a special pavilion for specialty foods from poverty-stricken areas, which is designed for exhibitors in poor areas. The Canton Fair has given full play to its influence as “China’s No. 1 Fair” by providing a new platform for enterprises in poverty-stricken areas to open up markets and new opportunities for them to get rid of poverty, helping them expand horizons, and enhancing their capabilities.
Under the guidance of the Ministry of Commerce, starting from 2017, the Canton Fair has arranged enterprises engaged in artificial flowers, bamboo shoots, honey and other products of Chengbu County to participate in the Canton Fair free of charge. Yang Shuting’s company was fortunate to participate in four sessions. It received 650,000 USD of orders at the 122nd session, 1.45 million USD at the 123rd session, 1.45 million USD at the 124th session, and 900,000 USD at the 125th session. The orders one after another made her factory regain vitality. Seeing that the products are sold, disabled and poverty-stricken people in the factory are no longer worried about their livelihood.
The 3 million USD of orders signed at the four sessions is an astronomical figure for a poor county. “Our company couldn’t have achieved current growth without the policy of ‘poverty alleviation through the Canton Fair.’” Talking about the Canton Fair, General Manager Yang shed grateful tears.
Poverty Alleviation is the Spread of Love
There are many similar companies in poverty-stricken areas that participate in the Canton Fair. The Canton Fair provides an effective channel for exhibitors in poverty-stricken areas to open up the market, and a platform for them to broaden their international horizons and learn from advanced management concepts. It plays an important role in fighting poverty and pushing forward the development of poverty-stricken areas. Through the Canton Fair, some enterprises have achieved breakthroughs in export. The accumulative turnover of exhibitors in the Traditional Chinese Specialty section has reached more than 55 million USD.
Yang Shuting said: “I am the messenger of ‘love’ in poverty alleviation through the Canton Fair. The Canton Fair passes on its love to me, and I pass on my love to the poor.” On the road to poverty alleviation, many hard-working people with a firm belief keep their mission in mind and forge ahead hand-in-hand to fight against poverty!