Why Guizhou?

Guizhou is a landlocked province in subtropical south-western China. Its size of 176.100 square km is equivalent to approximately half of the area of Germany; about the size of the US state of Missouri. Geographically, over 90% of South-eastern Guizhou Province is characterized by steep mountains and the remaining arable and habitable land is sparsely scattered alongside river valleys, plateaus and gaps of deep gorges. Mountain slopes are carved into terraces in an effective attempt to maximise crop growing.

Climate only allows one rice or wheat crop (staple diet) a year with in between cultivation of other crops like vegetables and sugar cane in warmer areas over winter season.

Whilst frost and snow are rarely sighted at all in low lying districts below 500 meters, higher altitudes oftentimes encounter sub-zero temperatures in winter season.

Guizhou is one of the poorest provinces in China, yet it’s "economical backwardness" retains a number of the most original and diverse ethnic cultures, Approximately 37% of its 38 million population is composed of more than a dozen ethnic minorities.

Qiandongnan, the south-eastern Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, covers about one sixth of the province’s area and houses one tenth of its population. Within this area, in Rongjiang and Congjiang Counties, squeezed between Mount Thunder and the Moon Mountains, the so called “Two Mountains” area is where T.K.S.S. operates since April 2000. This choice was made well-considered as both counties are the least developed within the province.

A combination of turbulent history, impassable rugged terrains, deep gorges with mighty rushing waters mostly contributed to create an area that has been economically underdeveloped and politically ignored by central government. It’s not until in recent years, that it gradually regained itself a more or less balanced and long deserved place in the overall planning within China’s annual National agendas.

The Miao and Dong are the predominant ethnic groups of southeast Guizhou, along with Shui and some Yao. Most live in small 10-30 households communities where basic vehicular road, electricity, telephone connection and water supply (still unreachable to many remote settlements) are only just recent arrivals. In the past, many minority groups have been rather reluctant to assimilate into the mainstream Han culture and consequently most of them have chosen to live in fairly remote mountainous areas. The Miao especially prefer to settle high in the mountains. Distances between their settlements and the nearest town or village centre easily requires from few hours to half a day’s journey by foot. Still many tiny pockets of settlements do not enjoy any road access at all.

“Palm Width Trail”: Put the sides of your hands together with your palms facing up, this is the local expression to indicate the width of trails connecting mountain villages, wide enough to walk or lead up a pack horse, but too small for vehicle."

Economic developments are often hampered by impassable and poor road infrastructure.

With the completion of the "Xiamen-Chengdu Expressway - Guizhou Section" (one of the major sea-land links for southwestern China) in June 2011, and the ongoing project for the "Guizhou-Guangzhou High Speed Rail" (scheduled to be completed in 2015) through these areas, we anticipate to see a brighter future ahead for local economic developments, such as tourism and other basic infrastructures.