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Back from the brink

Updated: 2018-08-04 10:22:17

( China Daily )

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Chenjiapu Bookstore is simply yet tastefully furnished, a clean, well-lit place that houses more than 20,000 books. [PHOTO BY HOU BOWEN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

So convincing people that saving villages like Songyang is a worthy cause is probably not that hard, but turning that into a reality is harder, given that if such villages are helped not only to survive but also thrive, people need to be attracted back to them, jobs need to be created, and the gap between urban and rural economies needs to be greatly narrowed.

On the outskirts of Chenjiapu is a car park, and the road that leads to the village becomes increasingly narrow before eventually reaching a cob-walled house that sits at the top of a cliff. This former abode, which has thoroughly been refurbished, and now Chenjiapu has its own modern bookshop.

The 350 sq m shop is modeled on an old auditorium, the aim being to retain the old wooden structure but to give it a new burst of life, says the architect Zhang Lei, "not only to strengthen it but also make it cater to the taste of young people, especially those born after the 1990s".

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