Rivers are capricious and unpredictable. At times, it is turbulent. At others, it is calm. Human beings have to overcome rivers and, at the same time, rely on rivers. In Shennongxi Stream, Badong County in Yangtze Gorges region, boat trackers have been struggling in adverse environments like shallows and cataracts with their flesh and blood for a long time.

Boat trackers are boatmen who tow boats with goods on the river. In the mountains in Badong Shennongxi live the Tu people. When there were no roads for vehicles, daily necessities were delivered to the mountains by water. Since Shennongxi Stream was narrow and crooked, and its water surged a lot, boats in were often towed by boat trackers so that they could continue their upstream journey, and this tradition has a history of more than a thousand years. Since the development of modern roads and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in 2009 have raised the water level of the nearby area, the shallows have become rivers and boat trackers are not necessary anymore. In order to protect the tradition, villagers in Badong have formed a boat tracker team of one hundred odd members, but instead of delivering goods, they have changed their job nature to focus on tourism. When boat trackers sing out loud while they work, they would forget the fatigue and hardship of their life. It is in this way how people continue to safeguard the Yangtze river in this a new era.
30 minutes
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