Elderly Couple Live in a Valley Secluded from the World for Over 30 Years

March 6, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: March 6, 2007 12:00 am

CHINA—In the mountains that border Sichuan and Hunan provinces in China, Mr. Qin Daihua and his wife Li Caimei have lived in their home, secluded from the world, for the past 33 years.

Their home is situated in a valley surrounded by perilous cliffs and precipices. It is reached by passing through two hidden and narrow caves. In the quiet and lonely valley, the elderly couple lives a quiet life.

After walking on a small path in a lofty mountain range for half an hour, one comes to an inconspicuous, narrow opening to a cave that is a pass into another place.

Inside the cave, there is a winding stone staircase that goes down for dozens of meters.

When you come out of that cave, the sun shines brightly. Within several hundred meters, and after climbing a precipice, one arrives at another cave entrance. A one-meter-high wooden door seals the entrance to this cave. On the other side of the door lies the mountain valley, where the land is flat, buildings are neatly arranged, and you hear roosters crowing and dogs barking—indeed you are looking at true a haven of peace.

Mr. Qin said he and his wife moved there in 1974. Prior to that they lived in Boyang Township in Lichuan city dozens of kilometers away. The couple lived with Mr. Qin's large family in a small house. On top of that, their land was barren and the harvests were poor. Often they had nothing to eat due to lack of crops. Seeing his wife becoming thinner every day from starvation, Mr. Qin decided to find a paradise for his wife.

After searching far and wide, Mr. Qin finally found a little known valley hidden deep in the mountains at 1,200 meters above sea level. Hence, the couple moved there quietly, built a thatch house and other buildings, cultivated the land, and started a new life away from worldly strife. Mr. Qin and his wife cultivated approximately twenty mu of farmland (about 3.5 acres), raised pigs, chickens, and bees, and lived in self-sufficiency all by themselves. Over time, Ms. Li Caimei gave birth to two healthy sons and the couple was no longer lonely in the mountain valley.

In recent years both their sons Qin Xinping and Qin Xinbin have left the valley and started families elsewhere. As they do not come back to the valley very often, the couple feels lonely but have no complaints. They have not left the valley for many years. They said, “we are used to living here; when we die, we want to die here.”