CHENGDU, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Every morning at around 7:50, Jiang Weiming's tea house is filled with the aroma of tea.
In half an hour, the tea house in Yingxiu Township in Wenchuan County of Sichuan Province will be crowded with customers.
All the tea served on the premises is free. Jiang wants everyone "no matter if they wear leather shoes, straw sandals or top hats, to enjoy a cup of tea here."
"Both locals and visitors like to sit and chat for a moment here," Jiang says.
Jiang says he opened his tea house "out of gratitude."
Jiang's mother lost seven family members in the horrific Tangshan earthquake of 1976. A decade ago, a devastating earthquake rocked Wenchuan in southwest China's Sichuan and left nearly 70,000 people dead, 374,000 injured, 18,000 missing and millions homeless.
Yingxiu was at the epicenter and one of the worst-hit areas. Much of the town was destroyed. Jiang's father at that time was in Dujiangyan, which was also badly damaged. He luckily survived after rushing out of the collapsing houses.
He told Jiang that it would have been impossible for them to reunite if not for the help of others.
"He received free porridge from strangers, witnessed soldiers clearing roads day and night, and was sent home free by a taxi driver. He was very grateful about all these things," Jiang says.
Jiang once had a successful tea business in Ya'an in Sichuan. It was so successful that the Yingxiu government invited him to open a tea business in their town.
Four years after the earthquake, he moved to Yingxiu and started his tea business, but it proved difficult to get quality local tea leaves.
Today's Yingxiu is a tranquil town full of lush trees and clean water, bearing little mark of the destructive earthquake. But when Jiang arrived, there was hardly a complete tea garden left.
Wenchuan adopted a green development concept after the quake, banning mining and deforestation. As the local environment becomes better and better, so does Jiang's tea.
Jiang maintains high standards for his tea. He insists the tea garden should be free of pesticides and only the tips should be picked. Now he sells over 3 million yuan (473,000 U.S. dollars) of tea every year and plans to further expand his business.
His tea house has become a parlor for locals, and he has heard many stories from earthquake victims.
"I am impressed by how positive and diligent the local residents are," says Jiang.
Several years ago he met a man surnamed Song, and they often chat and laugh together. It was not until four years later that Jiang found that his friend had lost his wife and two children in the earthquake.
"Despite all these hardship and trauma, many choose to keep the pain in themselves," Jiang says. "Since 2011, many locals who lost their homes began coming back. Everything had changed, and they had to start from scratch but no one complained."
Jiang has a customer who visits him once a year. The man was at a construction site when the earthquake came. "I am the only survivor of 40-plus people," he told Jiang. "Once you know that life is uncertain, you become more peaceful and gentle."
"People in Yingxiu turned their gratitude into action," Jiang says. "They volunteered to join rescue efforts in other disasters, such as the 2013 Lushan earthquake and the Jiuzhaigou earthquake last year."
"The spirit of the Yingxiu people changed my outlook on life. The only way I can repay them is to continue making quality tea," Jiang says.