The 40-year-old village head made a living in cities after graduating from a university in Nanjing, and then returned to Changtang, his home village, in 2007. At the time he convinced his fellow villagers to try cultivating sweet potatoes instead of the traditional lower-profit rice.
Before it was upgraded to a province in 1988, about 80 percent of its grain and animal husbandry products was supplied from outside. But it is now becoming the country's biggest fruit and vegetable producer in the winter, contributing 4.8 million metric tons of vegetables to the domestic market last year.
China's landfills are bulging, illegal waste dumping is a growing headache and the favored solution among city governments－to incinerate－is creating health and pollution problems, she said.
"A friend of mine hired a maternity matron for 12,000 yuan (about 1,900 U.S. dollars) per month," said Zhang Xiao, a teacher in Beijing. "It is already a bargain as far as I know."
"We have struck out hard against air pollution, achieving a drop of over 30 percent in the average density of fine particulate matter in key areas," he said. "We will completely prohibit garbage from being brought into China."