Hongni Production Brigade, a tiny village in Pingshun County, Shansi Province, is deep in the Tai Hang Mountains.
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Background: Hongni Production Brigade, a tiny village in Pingshun County, Shansi Province, is deep in the Tai Hang Mountains. Following Chairman Mao's directive that water conservancy is the lifeline of agriculture, this brigade has, by relying on the collective strength and its own resources, worked hard to make this once desolate ravine with very little top soil but plenty of rocks into a new socialist countryside.
The area used to suffer from drought in nine years out of ten, but nothing could be done to make use of the precious water which flowed wastefully away in the deep gullies.
In 1957, the organized peasants resolved to bring the water up the mountains to change the face of the mountain village.
No hardships or difficulty can cow the members of Hongni Production Brigade, who are armed with Mao Tse-tung's thought.
With revolutionary spirit, they battled vigorously for two winters and an autumn and built a 12 kilometre long irrigation channel winding up the high mountains and sheer cliffs. The commune members call it 'The Channel of Conquerors of Mountains and Waters'. After completion, this channel has brought most of the cultivated landon the mountains under irrigation and Hongni Village, originally a 'grain-deficient' village, has become a brigade with surplus grain and has been able to sell large quantities of it to the state every year.
The commune members in this backwood mountain village have also built a small hydro-power station so that now there is electric light in every home. Electric grinders have also been installed, alleviating much of the heavy manual labour.
With water, the brigade's agriculture, stock-breeding and side-occupations have all developed and the income of the commune members has gone up from year to year.
To make even better use of the water, Hongni Village has gone into yet another new battle: the building of a reservoir on the mountain-side.
Days are getting better and better for Hongni Village. The commune members plan to bring all the cultivated land under irrigation in three years' time and to make all the land into fields of high yielding and stable crops of the Ta Chai type.