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From impoverished miner to prosperous actor: The story of Ouyang’s journey out of poverty by Ye Kai,December 11, 2020 Adjust font size:

Ouyang Luofasheng and his wife Tang Yuchun in front of their new home (Xinhua/Hu Chenhuan)

In December 2019, Ouyang Luofasheng and his wife Tang Yuchun, residents of Jieyuan village, Ruijin city, Jiangxi province, returned to the site of a mine known as Changlong quarry in their hamlet that he stopped working at 24 years ago. This time, wearing actors’ costumes, they participated in an audition at a new outdoor theater, and started their new lives as actors.

Ouyang was diagnosed with lung disease when he was a miner, and the couple incurred a substantial amount of debt treating his illness. He ultimately recovered but lost his ability to engage in strenuous labor, so Tang provided for the two over the years. The mine was permanently closed in 2012 due to environmental problems, and Ouyang and Tang were identified as impoverished in 2015. 

The local government helped Ouyang lease a fishpond and also arranged for him to do part-time cleaning work after it was discovered that he was poverty-stricken. The couple’s life began to improve, and they emerged from poverty in 2016.

In 2018, the local government helped attract foreign investment in order to transform the Changlong quarry into a scenic tourist attraction with an outdoor theater. A production known as “Blood soaked Ruijin” was created based on local revolutionary history, and Ouyang and Tang were chosen to appear as background talent. They earn more than 6,000 yuan (US$878) per month for their performances, and their lives have been much better.

“My life is very different now that the quarry has become a tourist attraction,” Ouyang exclaimed. “I can act for a living instead of being exposed to dirt and dust. It is really amazing!”

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