Zayu County, located in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, has managed to connect with tourists around the world despite its remote location through the magic of microblogging.
Wang Ruizhi, a local government official in the county's village of Zhala, opened an account for the village on Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblogging site, in 2011. He said he has updated it every day since then, posting information about activities, weather and tourism in his village.
Ni Yong, the county's deputy Communist Party of China (CPC) secretary, took a cue from Wang's efforts to promote his village and worked to encourage other villages to create their own online presence. To date, 15 of the county's 96 villages have opened accounts on Sina Weibo, Ni said.
"Although roads and rails cannot reach Zayu, information about the county must be spread," Ni said.
The county's rough terrain often causes transportation disruptions, and snowy weather sometimes traps local residents in their homes. The villages' Weibo accounts, therefore, are particularly useful in helping the county maintain communication with the outside world, Ni said.
Village officials have been tasked with updating the Weibo accounts. The county's publicity department requires no fewer than 10 posts each month for each village account, according to Jampa Yudron, deputy head of the department.
"Weibo can help us present the work we have done, as well as share information and resources to attract investors and tourists," Yudron said.
Zhala is a two-day drive away from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. Although the walnuts, peaches and other agricultural products harvested in Zhala could be sold for a great deal of money in the city, poor transportation infrastructure prevents local farmers from selling their products elsewhere.