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Golden day for 3,000 villagers
by English.Eastday.com | March 24, 2012

VILLAGERS in Jiangyin City in eastern China's Jiangsu Province have been given 100-gram bars of gold and silver to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a village-owned business.

The Jiangsu Xin Chang Jiang Group, one of the top 20 private enterprises in China, distributed 300 kilograms of gold and 300 kilograms of silver last Saturday to the nearly 3,000 residents of Changjiang Village.

The village also gave each household a safe to store their valuables, the Modern Express newspaper reported yesterday.

For security reasons, the village officials had kept secret when the precious metals would be handed out. Every family in the villagers was given a safe on March 15, triggering speculation that the gold would soon arrive. Two days later they were told they could collect their bars at noon.

"Bingo! Let's go to get our gold," one villager was quoted as saying. Another villager, surnamed Zhou, was first in the queue, the report said.

"It's heavy and real," Zhou said of her gold bar with dragon icon.

Another, surnamed Zhao, was so happy he immediately took a picture of his gold and e-mailed it to his son.

One large family received 700 grams of gold, a village official said. He said the retail price of gold had recently hit 400 yuan (US$64) per gram.

Many families said they would have gold rings made for their daughters and keep the remaining gold as an heirloom.

"Unmarried young men and women in our village are very popular because of our wealth," a villager surnamed Sun told Xinhua news agency, adding that he planned to give a gold bar to his future son-in-law.

In previous years, the company built houses for villagers and distributed shares and cash dividends. Last year, it spent 64,000 yuan on decorating the gates of the villagers' villas.

The Jiangsu Xin Chang Jiang Group is involved in eight industries including electricity, metals and chemicals.

Changjiang Village is among several rich villages in Jiangsu Province. Huaxi Village, also in Jiangyin City, once China's richest, gained its wealth from steel and fabric factories, among other enterprises.

The average annual income of a Huaxi villager was 85,000 yuan in 2010, comparing to around 32,000 yuan for an average Shanghai resident.

In a drive to boost economic growth with tourism, it spent 3 billion yuan building the 74-story five-star Long Hope International Hotel which, at 328 meters, is China's eighth tallest building. A huge golden globe on top, glittering under the sun, can be seen from several kilometers away.

Golden day for 3,000 villagers
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