Changes After 1949 about Shui Ethnic Minority

The founding of New China brought a revival and further growth in production. During the land reform in the early 50’s, full respect for Shui customs was emphasized and public land was reserved for festive horseracing and dancing. In 1957 the Sandu Shui Autonomous County was established.

Formerly only 13 per cent of the arable land was irrigated. Now thousands of water conservancy facilities have been built to bring most arable land under irrigation.

Abundant mineral resources have been found and mined. Today local industries include chemical fertilizer, coalmining, farm machinery, sulfur, casting, sugar refining, winemaking and ceramics. Handicraft industries such as ironwork, masonry, silver jewelry, carpentry, textiles, papermaking, bamboo articles have also developed.

In the past, transportation was very difficult in this mountainous area, with only one 17-km highway traversing the county. Now all the seven districts in the county are connected by highways or waterways, and many towns and factories have bus services. The Hunan-Guizhou and Guizhou-Guangxi railways have further facilitated the interflow of commodities between the Shui community and other areas and strengthened ties between the Shui and other ethnic groups.

Before 1949 there were few schools in the area. By 1981, apart from 10 secondary schools and 145 primary schools with a total enrolment of 27,700, there was one ethnic minority school and one ethnic minority teachers’ school. Officials of the Shui people now number over 1,000, or over 30 per cent of the county’s total administrative staff.

In the past malaria was rampant in the area with an 80 per cent incidence rate, but the only medical facility was a small hospital with three medical workers. After 1949 a large number of clinics and hospitals were set up. Thanks to the persistent efforts in the past years, malaria has been brought under control.