China: Around The Nation

From barren mountain to lush forest in 30 years: Chinese man’s gift to his comrades killed at war

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 12:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 12:12pm

An elderly man in southwestern China has, in 30 years, transformed a barren mountain into a lush forest to commemorate his comrades who died during war.

Liu Changgui, 66, from Luzhou, Sichuan province, has been planting eucommia trees for three decades and has cultivated more than 200,000 trees since, the West China Daily reported.

Eucommia is a small-tree species native to China and valued in traditional Chinese medicine as it is believed to promote vitality and longevity.

“Many of my comrades died for the nation during wars,” Liu told the newspaper.

“They were quite young and didn’t even have the chance to get married. So I thought I should do something to commemorate them as well as to make some profit by growing these trees.

“But I never expected myself to be doing this for 30 years.”

Liu climbs up Tiantai Mountain in Luzhou’s Xuyong county to look after the trees he has planted.

It’s a treacherous trail up the mountain and it’s easy to fall off the cliff if one misses a footing. So Liu also began fixing the path up the mountain when he started growing the trees, the report said.

However, as Tiantai Mountain has been categorised as a scenic spot and plants on the mountain are now under protection, Liu is not allowed to chop off the grown trees to sell their parts for money, according to the report.

“I’ve spent all my life savings on these trees and I’ve got no money to grow more now,” he said.