On December 12, 2015, Yenching scholars went on a site visit to Beijing’s Pinggu District. Supported by both the Pinggu District Communist Youth League Committee and the Peking University Communist Youth League, the Yenching scholars had a unique, hands-on opportunity to explore China’s “New Rural Development” blueprint in action.
The site visit to the Pinggu District was divided into morning and afternoon components. In the morning, the Yenching scholars visited the Donggao village. Referred to as the “Village of the Violin,” the Donggao village is home to one of the largest music manufacturing regions in China. The scholars toured the “China Music Valley” exhibition hall and were introduced to the industry’s distribution and developmental prospects through a variety of sand table presentations and videos.
Following the tour, the Yenching scholars also paid a visit to a violin manufacturing plant. In addition to touring the entire manufacturing process, the scholars also had a chance to test out finished products including bells, drums, pianos, violins, and other instruments. By engaging with the plant’s workers, the Yenching scholars gained deeper insight into the scale of the factory, the employment environment in Donggao, and the socioeconomic conditions of the workers.
Yenching scholars visiting the violin manufacturing plant
In the afternoon, the Yenching scholars visited the Guajiayu village in Dahua Town, which has long been considered Beijing’s model village. Living up to its reputation as “Beijing’s most beautiful village”, Guajiayu village stresses sustainable, green development and equips all of its buildings with solar paneled roofs. The Yenching scholars participated in a village townhouse meeting and engaged with village leaders to learn more about the new rural development plan in Guajiayu.
Yenching Scholars meeting with local village leaders of Guajiayu
To conclude the day, Yenching scholars split into three groups and visited different families to learn more about the daily life in the Guajiayu village. This site visit gave the Yenching scholars a first-hand glimpse into how rural villages furthered their own development by channeling existing resources into the local tourism industry, green energy development, as well as experimenting with collective economic models.
Visiting Guajiayu residents
At the Guajiayu village center