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Xijiang Miao Village in Guizhou restores its face

The Xijiang Miao Village, China's largest Miao ethnic minority village, formed a committee to protect its ancient dwellings recently.

The 2000-year-old village hides in the mountains of underdeveloped Guizhou Province in the China's southwest, located about 36 km from Leishan County and about 35 km away from Kaili City. Exploring Miao minority villages in Guizhou, visitors will be fascinated by the locals' exotic dress, daily life and the unique architecture of their wooden stilted houses.

However, mass tourism development since 2008 has taken its toll on the village, which is home to over 1,000 families. To cater to the influx of urban visitors, which totaled 3.8 million last year, up from 100,000 in 2008, some old huts were torn down and replaced by modern hotels, restaurants and cafes. Tourists hoping to find peace at the site were disappointed.

The committee has rolled out measures to strike a balance between development and conservation. It passed a rule on October 18 limiting new buildings in the village to 15 each year. They must be built in the traditional Miao timbered style, and construction is subject to the committee's approval. Committee members are now publicizing the rule in the neighborhood and lobbying villagers to dismantle modern buildings they have built.