| Gongshan County, Nujiang Prefecture, Northwest Yunnan, is located between 1170 m to 5128 m above sea level and features several mountains and valleys. Such terrain makes transportation inconvenient and impedes local livelihoods and the development.
Gongshan has mild climate. The day–night temperature difference in the county is high, but the annual temperature difference is low. The weather in the river valley areas is mild and humid.
The main religion in Gongshan is Catholicism. In the mid-19th century, French missionaries wanted to preach in Tibet through Nujiang but failed to do so for various reasons. Therefore, these preachers turned to missionary work in the Nujiang region instead. They built chapels in every village and provided villagers with agricultural technology and medical services. Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism now coexist in the area.
Qiunatong is a Catholic village in Gongshan County. Most Qiunatong villagers are Nu (怒族). A few Dulong (獨龍族) and Tibetans also live in Qiunatong.
Qiunatong is a poor village with an annual per capita income of 1,200 yuan. Most of the residential houses are traditional timber houses with schist roofs.
The Nu Minority is one of the oldest minorities in the Nujiang area, having a history of 1,600 years. The Nu live only in Yunnan, China, and have a population of less than 30,000. They have a unique ethnic culture with their own language, ethnic costumes, music, and oral literature.
Before the 1940s, the main social structure of Nujiang was one in which primitive communes, seigneurs, and a landlord economy coexisted. After years of development, local infrastructure improved, but the living standards of villagers remain poor. Villagers primarily grow corn, wheat, buckwheat, and highland barley and use Chinese medicinal herbs from forests in the area.
The villagers of Qiunatong are Catholic and are known for their kindness and gratitude. The villagers commonly raise crops and livestock instead of trying to earn money in urban areas as most rural residents in other areas.
Every weekend, all the villagers gather in chapel.
We found the following problems in the village:
- a low-quality living environment
- small and uncomfortable chapel
- lack of public space and recreation facilities
- unreliable water source and improper use of energy
- poor hygiene and public health
- low income level
- low education level (adult and young kid)