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Planting seeds of hope

Publish Time: 2017-09-22 Author: Hou Liqiang and Daqiong From: China Daily

Farming expert moved to Tibet to help improve the region's agriculture

Before the age of 30, Chen Qian was a restless man. After graduating from college in 1992, he landed a job as a division head at a township government - a secure, lifelong position that is often known as an "iron rice bowl" in China.

Yet just three years later, the native of Hubei province had quit to start work at a senior vocational high school in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, instead.

It was here that Chen, a member of the Tujia ethnic group, first met a Tibetan and became fascinated by what he described as their simple ways and goodness.

"An idea occurred to me then - go to Tibet and have a look," he recalled.

Chen soon got his chance. In 2000, an opportunity arose for him to travel to the autonomous region.

It was standard practice at that time for Tibetan students to return home after they had completed their college entrance exams, but the school was short one chaperon that year.

Chen volunteered, not knowing the trip would change his life forever.

Planting seeds of hope

After escorting the student, Chonyi Jampel, back home to Maldrogungkar county, he went to visit Nyanrong county in Nagchu prefecture.

Another of his students, Norgyel Wangchug, had suggested Nyingchi in southeastern Tibet would be the perfect place to settle down, because of the favorable weather conditions.

Chen, who majored in agriculture, took one look at the underdeveloped highland and thought it would be the perfect place to practice his expertise.

He had long dreamed of making his mark on the world and decided then that this would be the ideal setting.

So he quit his job at the school and even changed his name to Chen Zhen, a homophone for "come true" in Chinese, in the hope of achieving his ambition.

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