• A Day In The Life Of The Villagers Of Gulucun

A Day In The Life Of The Villagers Of Gulucun (Photo : Getty Images)

The urban-rural gap in China seems to widen further as seen in video on YouTube showing Sichuan school children climbing an 800-meter cliff using only an old bamboo ladder.

Posted on Friday by The Guardian, the video has become viral with almost 50,000 hits in less than one day. The images were taken of children from Zhajoue County, Sichuan Province, scaling the cliff which is their only access to Atuleer Village, reported Associated Press.

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The children belong to the 72 families from the Yi minority group who are farmers. The 15 children who go up and down the dangerous trail are aged 6 to 15. They climb 17 separate ladders accompanied by two adults.

The kids go up the dangerous trail even two week to study at a school in the village where they board and return home every fortnight. Their families are poor farmers who plant potatoes, walnuts and chili pepper.

Because of the media uproar caused by the video, the Liangshan Prefectural government, in a press release on Friday, promise to replace the rickety bamboo stairs with a strong steel stairs as a temporary measure. Meanwhile, officials would have to think of a long-term solution to the problem which goes beyond safety.

There is also the issue of access to the village which places the minority group members at the mercy of traders who could exploit the Yis because of the difficulty of carrying volumes of produce up or down the dangerous cliff.

“The most important issue at hand is to solve the transport issue. That will allow us to make larger-scale plans about opening up the economy and looking for opportunities in tourism,” said Jikejingson, secretary general of the Zhajoue county Communist Party.