GLOBALink | Interplay between traditional and modern enriches lives of China's ethnic minorities

Source: Xinhua| Published: 2023-02-22

Nestled in a mountainous area, Laodabao, in Pu'er region of China's southwestern province of Yunnan, is home to hundreds of villagers from the Lahu ethnic group.

A decade ago, around 80 percent of its population lived below the country's poverty line.

Li Naluo, 39, was one of a few villagers who got the chance to see the outside world as she learned to play guitar as a child and followed her father to go out of the village to perform.

In 2013, she established a performing arts company, engaging more than 200 villagers of different ages.

Performing their cultural songs and dances for visitors from across the country has become a part of the villagers' routine and they have also taken their performances to stages in big Chinese cities and even abroad.

Since its establishment, the company has performed on more than 960 occasions in front of a total of over 153,000 visitors, generating an income of more than 4.75 million yuan (about 688,750 U.S. dollars).

The transformation in Laodabao is a shared experience in Pu'er, a border city inhabited by 26 different ethnic groups.

Banli, another Lahu ethnic minority village in Pu'er, has also been turning its distinctive culture into an invaluable tourism asset.

The village now has its own performance art company famous for the "swing dance," a traditional Lahu dance featuring movements described as gentle, neat and graceful, while also involving a degree of stretching.

Besides tapping into ethnic cultures, Pu'er has also been discovering new opportunities resulting from their traditional tea planting.

Zhengwan Village has kicked off the development of a modern tea industry by launching farmers' cooperatives in recent years.

Lu Jiashou, a local tea farmer, joined a tea cooperative in 2007.