'Yimeng spirit' still inspires

By Zhao Ruixue| (China Daily)| Updated : 2021-06-29

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A 59-kilometer highway connects 26 villages in the Yimeng mountainous area of Shandong province with the outside world. The road has become an artery for rural development, and has been instrumental in transporting villagers out of poverty. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Just as it did during wartime, the indomitable character of people in the mountainous region has shone through to help them build a better life and a prosperous future, reports Zhao Ruixue in Linyi, Shandong.

People didn't have enough food, drinking water or basic healthcare resources, elders tell visitors when explaining how underdeveloped the villages in the Yimeng Mountain area in Shandong province once were.

One of the country's old revolutionary bases, nowadays, villages in the mountainous area have witnessed substantial changes as people have embraced the "Yimeng spirit" cultivated during China's struggle for liberation to power the development of their region.

More than 1.2 million of the total 4.2 million population living in the area supported the revolutionary army during the 1930s and '40s, and more than 200,000 of those joined the army.

Their spirit of hard work, self-improvement, selflessness and dedication was later referred to as the "Yimeng spirit", which has since inspired generations of Chinese people to create a better life.

In Linyi, a main city in the Yimeng Mountain area, a total of 451,000 people were lifted out of poverty during the period of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). The average annual net income of local people increased from 2,566 yuan ($393) in 2016 to 7,481 yuan in 2020.

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