China pushes ‘toilet revolution’

Photo taken on April 8, 2020, shows a newly-built public toilet in Longquan village, Zhongliang township, Shapingba district, southwest China’s Chongqing municipality. (People’s Daily Online/Zhao Jiechang)

Thanks to China’s “toilet revolution”, Fan Zengjiu, a villager in the country’s Sichuan province, has seen significant improvements on the toilet as well as the living conditions of his family.

“My old toilet was dirty and shabby. It had neither a roof nor a door,” said Zeng, who comes from Pingwu township, Jianyang, southwest China’s Sichuan, calling it such a pain having to use the toilet in winter, especially in windy days.

Nowadays, however, the toilet of Fan’s family not only has a door, but is neatly tiled, nothing like the dirty and messy one it used to be. “The whole living environment has been upgraded,” Fan said happily.

Fan’s toilet is an epitome of numerous toilets renovated because of the country’s “toilet revolution” project implemented during its 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

Over the past five years, China has significantly improved the conditions of toilets in tourist destinations and rural areas, both public and family ones.

The central government of China has allocated a huge amount of funds for the “toilet revolution” every year. In 2020 alone, it arranged 7.4 billion yuan ($1.15 billion) to promote the transformation of toilets in villages.

From 2018 to 2020, south China’s Guangdong province allocated over 32.9 billion yuan to push forward with projects launched for the construction of beautiful and livable countryside, including the “toilet revolution” project.

Since 2017, Changle district, Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, has newly built or upgraded 391 public toilets in urban and rural areas, among which 53 were built or upgraded in 2020.

“We didn’t have to pay a penny for the upgrading. Manufacturers of toilet fittings have even adjusted their products according to the needs of different families,” recalled Liu Yusuo, a villager from Yangqu county, Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi province, adding that his fellow villagers were all very pleased with the toilet transformation.

Lahai village, Xingjie township, Xichou county, southwest China’s Yunnan province, has explored a new path for the construction and management of public toilets.

The village took some money from its collective income to renovate over 10 public toilets and improve their sanitary conditions, according to Liu Chaoren, Party branch secretary of the village.

“Each of the villagers has been asked to donate 0.1 yuan every day. Part of the donations is used for the daily cleaning, maintenance, and management of public facilities including public toilets,” Liu added.

In this way, villagers have been more involved in the affair concerning the interests of every one of them. In addition, by paying to hire poor residents in the village to clean public toilets, villagers have not only solved the problem of poor sanitation, but increased the income of the poor.

Various regions in China are also formulating toilet management mechanisms with characteristics.

Dezhou city in east China’s Shandong province has included the daily management and maintenance of public toilets into the assessment of rural living environments improvement. Each public toilet in the city is cleaned by a full-time cleaner, whose salary varies with the assessment results.

Nantong, east China’s Jiangsu province, has comprehensively introduced a management model where government officials have been designated as chiefs of public toilets. These toilet chiefs are responsible for coordinating, supervising and inspecting the management of rural public toilets under their jurisdiction.

Statistics from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs show that more than 60 percent of rural areas in China had built toilets with sound sanitary conditions by the end of 2019.

As of the end of 2020, over 45 percent of agricultural and pastoral areas in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region had built toilets with sound sanitary conditions. The percentages of such toilets in rural areas of China’s Henan province and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region reached 85 percent and 59.29 percent, respectively. In Shandong, 10.75 million rural households had got renovated sanitary toilets by 2020.

China’s strong will and determination in promoting the “toilet revolution” are worth admiring, said Brian Arbogast, director of the water, sanitation and hygiene program under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

After the “toilet revolution” was launched, the Chinese government, enterprises, and society have comprehensively mobilized the Chinese people, and generally improved the construction, management, and services of toilets.

Returnees in China drive innovation

Liao Junhua (left), who has returned to his hometown in China to start a tea business after receiving his master’s degree in the Oregon State University in the U.S., talks with a tea farmer in an organic tea garden in Xuan’en county, central China’s Hubei province, April 24, 2019. (People’s Daily Online/Wang Jun)

Inspired by China’s innovation-driven development strategy, a large number of talents who returned to the country after studying abroad have become an important force of the mass entrepreneurship and innovation campaign in China during its 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

After graduating from the University of Liverpool in the UK, post-90s Chinese Shi Pengfei made a decision that surprised his family and friends: returning to his hometown in Dulouma village, Kaifeng city of central China’s Henan province to engage himself in planting edible fungi.

Since 2017, Shi has tried to grow many varieties of edible fungi. He finally decided on shiitake mushrooms, which are believed to be relatively easier to form an industrial chain, cause no pollution, and boast both technical advantages and economic benefits.

Today, in his planting base in Dulouma village, shiitake mushrooms grow vigorously in neat clusters.

Besides, the industrial park of edible fungi established by the overseas returnee-turned new farmer has driven the development of 39 poverty-relief edible fungi bases in six townships in the locality.

Shi has made great efforts to establish an entire industrial chain covering the production, supply and sale of edible fungi, and tried to involve impoverished residents in every links of the industrial chain so as to expand their sources of income.

In 2020 alone, Shi provided assistance for 3,360 times for poor households, increasing their income by an average of 6,000 yuan ($928.5) per household.

In fact, during China’s 13th Five-Year Plan period, more returnees like Shi have devoted themselves to poverty alleviation and applied what they have learned to the front line of the fight against poverty.

Miao Lu, co-founder and secretary general of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), believes that overseas returnees can play a key role in China’s poverty alleviation models featuring five major approaches including industrial development, technical training, education, medical services, and financial support, and make greater contributions to the country’s poverty alleviation campaign.

Over the past five years, various Chinese cities have made efforts to attract talents returned from overseas.

Shanghai attracted over 67,000 returnees from 2016 to 2020, more than twice the number of talents returned from overseas introduced to the city between 2011 and 2015. In addition, 80 percent of these returnees attracted to Shanghai graduated from the top 300 universities in the world.

The metropolis has accumulated more than 200,000 returnees that are working or running their own businesses in the city.

Talent cultivation has always been a focus of China’s opening-up efforts in the education sector, and talents returned to the country after studying overseas are an important part of China’s talent pool.

Latest data from China’s Ministry of Education show that the number of Chinese studying abroad exceeded 2.51 million from 2016 to 2019, of whom about 2.01 million, or 80 percent, returned to China after graduation.

The returning wave of overseas Chinese graduates is a mirror of industrial changes as well as a vivid reflection of the appeal of huge opportunities in China.

While injecting fresh impetus into the innovative development of various industries, talents returned from overseas have helped enhance the endogenous power of China.

It is predictable that returnees will better integrate their ambitions into the development of their motherland and compose more wonderful melodies of innovation and entrepreneurship with the support of a more mature talent cultivation system and all-round services for innovation and entrepreneurship.

China to maintain economic recovery

China has the confidence that it will sustain economic recovery and achieve stable development, according to an official with the country’s top economic planner.

A worker is seen at a factory of the First Automotive Works (FAW) Group Co., Ltd. in Changchun, capital of northeast China’s Jilin Province, Sept. 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Nan)

The Chinese economy has demonstrated a strong capability to refuse risks, exhibit resilience against pressure and maintain vitality for development, said Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission and head of the National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s economic growth in 2020 is projected at about 2 percent, and its GDP is expected to exceed 100 trillion yuan ($15.4 trillion) in 2020, with per capita GDP reaching $10,000 in two consecutive years, Ning said.

A total of 11 million new urban jobs were created in the first 11 months of 2020, with the number of market entities reaching 130 million.

In December 2020, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China’s manufacturing sector came in at 51.9 percent, with the PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector at 55.7 percent, and the comprehensive PMI output index at 55.1 percent. All figures were at a high level compared with other periods in the year.

In 2021, the country will strive to improve the quality of the supply side, Ning said.

The country will vigorously push forward the construction of comprehensive national science centers in Beijing’s Huairou district, Zhangjiang of Shanghai and Hefei.

It will support Beijing, Shanghai, and the Greater Bay Area to build international science and technology innovation centers, establish an independent and safe industrial supply chain, and achieve breakthroughs in core technologies.

China will strengthen management of the supply side, continue deepening reform and opening-up, push for green development, and carry out projects to solve issues related to people’s livelihood.

China will also keep its macro-policies consistent, stable and sustainable in 2021, according to Ning.

The country will make efforts to ensure stability in areas including: employment, financial operations, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations, as well ensure security in job, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments.

To ensure the security of market entities, China will continue with the policy which allows small and micro-sized businesses to postpone principal and interest repayments on inclusive loans, along with the credit loan support program.

Auto market rebounds in China

Thousands of vehicles are parked at a storage yard in an auto logistics center in Taicang, east China”s Jiangsu province, before they are shipped to Chongqing, Wuhan, Guangzhou and other cities, Nov. 16, 2020. (People”s Daily Online/Ji Haixin)

China’s auto production and sales volume hit 2.85 million and 2.77 million in November last year, up 9.6 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively, and marking a growth for eight consecutive months. It was also the seventh month in a row for China to see a double-digit growth in auto sales.

The thriving business of Chinese automaker Changan Auto was an epitome of the robust recovery of China’s auto market. The company sold nearly 114,000 passenger vehicles in November, registering a year-on-year growth of 36.4 percent, said Huang Lejin, general manager of the company’s production base in Hefei, east China’s Anhui province, where around 400 robotic arms are welding vehicle parts and over 100 automatic guided vehicles hustling among production lines every day.

The smart factory has created 1,700 jobs since last August and been kept running 24 hours a day on three shifts, according to the general manager.

China’s auto market was on a roller coaster the last year, said Ye Shengji, deputy secretary general of China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The industry forecasted an annual plunge of over 25 percent in last February, but the de facto production and sales in the first 11 months of 2020 were 22.37 million and 22.47 million, down by 3 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, Ye introduced, saying both reductions were narrowed around 14 percentage points from those in the January-June period.

Executive vice chairman and secretary general of the CAAM Fu Bingfeng told People’s Daily that China’s annual auto production might exceed 25 million in 2020, and the year-on-year decrease is expected to be narrowed to less than 2 percent, a performance much better than the expectation earlier last year. It showcased the strong capability of China’s auto industry, as well as the country’s economic resilience, he said.

“A series of forceful measures made possible the resumption of work, production and market, which offset the impacts from COVID-19,” Fu noted. China was one of the few highlights of the global auto market last year, accounting for 33 percent of the total global auto sales.

According to statistics, major auto markets such as the U.S., Japan and Spain saw their sales contract 17.3 percent, 14.7 percent, 37.0 percent, respectively in the first 10 months of last year, while the Chinese auto market declined only 4.7 percent in the same period.

Meanwhile, major auto groups delivered eye-catching performance in the Chinese market, and the Chinese market has taken a larger share in their global sales data.

The CAAM forecasted that the auto market would be on a steady rise this year, and remain stable in the next five years. Auto production is projected to hit 30 million by 2025.

Qi Yunwu, a man from Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province bought a new energy vehicle (NEV) last December. The car was officially priced at 35,800 yuan ($5,540) and enjoyed a subsidy of 3,000 yuan from local government. Besides, as a car fueled by new energy, it also enjoys free parking at state-owned parking lots, and is exempted from traffic restriction rules.

Shen Yunxiao, vice general manager of SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., told People’s Daily that over 100,000 NEVs of the company were sold during promotional campaigns aiming to boost the sales of NEVs in rural areas last year.

Such promotional campaigns were launched by multiple departments and joined by 61 models from 24 carmakers. Nearly 200,000 NEVs were sold during these campaigns.

A total of 200,000 NEVs were sold in China last November, up 104.9 percent from a year ago and registering a fifth time in the year to break monthly records. The NEV production added up to nearly 1.11 million in the January-November period, an uptick of 3.9 percent.

Fu introduced that the policies to promote auto consumption by central and local governments, including the vehicle replacement subsidies, as well as the promotional activities launched across the nation, have significantly released the demand in the auto market and propelled the recovery of the passenger vehicle market. The NEV sales is expected to exceed 20 million in 2020, he added.

Driven by infrastructure construction and investment, and the policies to promote vehicle replacement, the sales of commercial vehicles also demonstrated robust growth. According to statistics, China produced and sold 518,000 and 472,000 commercial vehicles in November 2020, up 20.3 percent and 18 percent year on year. The sales volume registered an eighth time of the year to create a new high in the same month of past years, and the sales of heavy-duty and light-duty trucks also set new records for November figures in history.

Young Chinese fancy new professions

Bolstered by forms and models of business, new professions like operation and maintenance personnel of industrial robot systems, ability appraisers for the elderly, and online marketers have sprouted up in China, bringing more choices for young Chinese in the job market.

(Photo/Xinhua)

Tan Hui, who has more than 10 years of experience as a geriatric doctor, is now an ability appraiser for the elderly in a nursing home in Zhuzhou, central China’s Hunan province.

By evaluating seniors’ abilities including their cognitive and mental state, perception, communication and social participation, Tan issues comprehensive assessment reports to help divide the elderly residents into different grades to determine how much care they require.

Industry statistics show China now needs about 1.5 million ability appraisers for the elderly, but the number of people working in this job is currently less than 100,000.

As a new profession, ability appraisers for the elderly could pave the way for tailored senior care services, according to Tan.

Chen Hehua, an engineer from the second plant of Yuxiang Ceramic Industry Co., Ltd. in Liling of Hunan, is also the operation and maintenance personnel of several robotic arms in the plant.

An operation and maintenance personnel of industrial robot systems usually performs data collection, status monitoring, fault diagnosis, and maintenance operations on industrial robots and their systems with a variety of monitoring instruments and maintenance equipment.

Last year, the company sent Chen to an equipment supplier to learn how to maintain robotic arms. Now, Chen maintains and conducts spot checks on the robots every day to ensure appropriate lubrication of parts and temperature of the equipment.

Thanks to Chen’s efforts, the robotic arms can reduce the product damage rate, which was high when human workers transported the products between the 15 links in the production, by about 10 percent and double the efficiency of transferring products on the production line.

Workers are more motivated to become technical talent due to the emergence of new types of work and new professions in the plant, Chen said.

Born after 2000, live streamer Xiaowan, who was a still model in Zhuzhou, never expected that she could become a popular online marketer, who has been trying on down jackets for online shoppers since early autumn.

Xiaowan received training from her company on clothing design, marketing skills and other professional knowledge before becoming an online marketer.

“I can introduce all of the selling points of a piece of clothing in less than a minute,” she said.

To upgrade the traditional wholesale markets, Hunan Tianze Huali E-Commerce Co., Ltd. started training live streamers and online marketers in December 2019, with Xiaowan among the first batch of applicants.

Live streamers are not the only game in town, said Li Tianyun, the company’s deputy general manager, hoping that more talents will become online marketers to promote more diversified and sustainable development of online marketing.

Paid study rooms thrive in China

Paid self-study rooms in a shared space have become more and more popular among learners and entrepreneurs in China in recent years.

(Photo/Xinhua)

By the end of this July, the number of searches for shared study rooms soared by more than 10 times over the same period of last year, according to statistics released by Meituan, China’s service-focused e-commerce giant.

In 2019, about 1,000 paid study rooms were newly added across Chinese cities. So far, there were over 200 shared study rooms in cities including Shenyang, Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an, respectively. In particular, Shenyang is home to over 360 such study lounges, ranking first in the country.

Equipped with eye-caring lamps, comfortable tables and chairs, air purifiers and various kinds of stationery, these study rooms also provide tea, snacks and other services.

Consumers of a paid study room usually include college students who want to pass postgraduate entrance exams and civil service exams, white collars, and high school students. In this study room, consumers can pay around 50 yuan ($7.6) to 100 yuan per day for a quiet and friendly learning atmosphere. Users can buy a wide range of packages, such as a monthly, quarterly or yearly pass, depending on their individual needs.

“I cannot concentrate on learning at home at all,” said Huang Han, a regular of a paid study room. “With a better learning atmosphere, the paid self-study room that provides comfortable decoration, lighting and environment is more efficient.”

Huang used to get a seat at the study rooms of colleges or public libraries near her home. However, many colleges remain closed to the public amid the COVID-19 epidemic. As Huang couldn’t reserve a seat at the library nearest to her home, so pays about 10 yuan per hour for a seat in a study room, a price that is acceptable to her.

The fact that seats are hard to get in public libraries is one of the reasons for the popularity of paid study rooms in China.

Chen Suming, a founder of a paid self-study room in Beijing said that he started the business, because he couldn’t get a seat when he wanted to learn.

Another reason is people’s desire for private space. Data from market consultancy company iiMedia Research show that 43.2 percent of users of paid study rooms mainly pay for a private study environment.

Railway makes Beijing, Xiong’an closer

After nearly three years of construction, the 91-kilometer-long intercity railway connecting Beijing and Xiong’an New Area, north China’s Hebei province, opened to traffic on Dec. 27.

Photo taken on Dec. 27 shows the Xiong’an Railway Station in Xiong’an New Area, north China’s Hebei province. (People’s Daily Online/Weng Qiyu)

With a designed top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, it has cut the travel time between the Beijing West Railway Station and Xiong’an New Area to about 50 minutes, and that between the Beijing Daxing International Airport, a station along the railway, and Xiong’an to about 19 minutes.

As another intelligent high-speed railway in China, the intercity railway has adopted many key technologies, achieving more than 70 innovative results.

The intercity railway has employed Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, the first-ever application of BIM in railway industry, and realized 3D and intelligent management throughout the full life cycle concerning design, construction and operation, said Liu Weiqun, chairman of China Railway Design Corporation.

Based on the BIM technology, the railway has made a series of achievements such as automatic rebar processing and intelligent compaction of the roadbed, Liu added.

While improving the construction efficiency and quality with digital designs, the railway also pursues environmentally-friendly, green and energy-efficient construction.

For example, it has set up a fully enclosed noise barrier that stretches for nearly 850 meters, which reduces the noise of the trains to below 20 decibels, lessening the inconvenience for the residential areas along the way.

The Xiong’an Railway Station has also applied photovoltaic power generation on its roof, which could save 30 percent of electric energy.

According to China State Railway Group Co., Ltd., 16 pairs of high-speed trains will be put in operation along the track for now, with slight adjustments expected in the near future.

China steadily resumes marathons

Chun’an county, Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, hosts a marathon beside the Qiandao Lake, Dec. 6. (People’s Daily Online/Wang Jiancai)

Through precise and differentiated strategies in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) has gradually resumed marathons in low-risk areas to satisfy the needs of marathon enthusiasts.

On Nov. 29, 10,000 marathon contestants entered the preparation area of the 2020 Nanjing Marathon in the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu province, after going through various testing procedures for epidemic prevention and control, including checks for their body temperature and health QR code.

Before taking part in the race, each of them was required to submit the paper version of their negative nucleic acid test certificate, sign a letter of commitment stating responsibility for their health and safety, and provide a record of the places they had been to in the previous 14 days.

To resume marathon competitions, the top priority for organizers is ensuring adequate measures for epidemic prevention and control.

Local governments in China need to get the approval of relevant local departments, such as disease control and prevention department, before holding marathons, said Shui Tao, deputy secretary general of the CAA, noting that these events are also asked to be kept under certain scale.

Marathon organizers in China have come up with different ideas for meeting the demands of the public amid the pandemic.

Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang province, hosted a marathon by the side of Dongqian Lake on Dec. 12.

The city scaled down this year’s Dongqian Lake event, a “bronze medal” marathon, or third highest-level marathon recognized by the CAA, and only held a half marathon and a mini marathon, involving over 4,000 contestants.

It also provided participants with free nucleic acid testing for the sake of epidemic control.

Based on different conditions in each region, the CAA has taken various measures for marathon events accordingly.

For example, it has encouraged low-risk areas to gradually resume races, and suggested that medium- and high-risk areas should not hold marathon races.

Meanwhile, the association has gradually resumed marathon competitions via both online and offline means.

As offline activities have been reduced due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the CAA has innovatively combined the Internet and sports, and carried out online running events extensively.

Online events allow contestants to choose their own routes, and can therefore attract many running enthusiasts from different cities and facilitate the health and fitness of more people.

As of the beginning of October, China has held 368 online marathons, attracting 52 million online participants.

In October, the CAA launched online marathon series, in a bid to complement offline competitions and enrich the forms and platforms of marathon.

On Dec. 20, a marathon involving about 20,000 participants was hosted in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, marking the final curtain of the domestic marathon season this year.

The 2021 season will make a start on Jan. 3 next year, when a marathon is scheduled to be held in Xiamen city of Fujian province.

The 2021 sports season is coming, Shui noted, who called for careful and sufficient preparations for marathons.

Offline marathons mean that a large number of people gather together and run a long way to the same destination, which makes effective epidemic control all the more necessary, said Shui.

Shui believes it important to fully consider whether a runner is ready to participate in the races both physically and mentally. He added that CAA has issued a proposal for healthy competition, stressing scientific and systematic training and advocating frequent and short-distance running activities.

City in SE China pursues eco-industries

Photo shows the scenery of tea gardens in Datian county, Sanming, southeast China’s Fujian province. (Photo/Datian bureau of tourism, culture, radio, television and sports)

By developing eco-industries, Sanming city, southeast China’s Fujian province, has witnessed thriving economy and generated higher income for farmers.

The city has proved that a new path to prosperity based on a sound ecological environment is possible, and that ecological conservation and economic development are not meant to confront each other, but to reinforce each other.

“We neither spray tea leaves with pesticides nor weed our tea gardens during the tea growth and harvesting period, as we believe that true organic tea trees and weeds should co-exist in harmony,” said a tea planter of Wulongshan tea garden in Datian county, Sanming city.

The ecological garden with rows of tea trees has not only formed magnificent scenery, but filled the air with a fine scent.

The tea industry has led local residents in Datian to prosperity. Eighteen townships in the county now grow tea trees, a significant increase from four in the past, and the tea industry’s output value in the county has climbed to 3.5 billion yuan ($536.1 million) from less than 30 million yuan.

In Shaxian county of Sanming city, the Shaxian Hongbian Tea Factory has revived the ancient tea-making techniques of Hongbian tea, a variety of Chinese top tea oolong and a specialty of the county, and created jobs for impoverished people in the surrounding areas.

Now the tea industry in Sanming has offered a new path for helping locals become better-off, and become a vital engine driving the construction of its ecological function zones.

In Longjin town of Qingliu county, Sanming city, villagers have turned citrus industry into a cash cow. The collective income of some villages has increased from 40,000 yuan to 400,000 yuan and villagers have moved into new houses and bought cars.

Sanming has witnessed a benign interaction between a sound ecological environment and an optimized industrial structure.

In fact, many industries in Sanming couldn’t have been possible without a good ecological environment. One of the examples is the pharmaceutical industry in Mingxi county of Sanming.

Known as the “greenest county” in Fujian province, Mingxi is perfect for growing the Chinese yew, a type of rare tree in China that is demanding for the environment as well as a source of Taxol, a natural broad-spectrum anticancer substance.

Taking advantage of the natural conditions, Fujian South Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (FSP) in Mingxi county has developed its business and supplied its products to major domestic pharmaceutical factories, and will even enter the European and American markets in the near future.

Another example is the industry of tofu skin, a delicacy made from soybeans, in Qingliu county of the city. The specialty is known far and wide and its market value reaches 100 million yuan.

According to Yu Keshen and his wife, owners of a tofu skin store in the county, tofu skin with such a distinctive soybean aroma can only be made from the clear spring water and soybeans grown in Qingliu with lush mountains.

The sound ecological environment has become a cradle of industries, especially industries with particularly high standards.

Ecological beauty has become a name card of Sanming and symbolizes its “soft power” to attract investment.

The city has reached a broad consensus about ecological conservation, which is best reflected in its forestry reform.

In the past, consuming natural resources was the main source of income for local people and farmers were often seen cut down trees.

By piloting a financial reform and establishing a mechanism of green credit and loan, Sanming has enabled farmers to mortgage their well-maintained forests to a bank to apply for loans and start their businesses.

In this way, the city has protected its forests and revitalized its economy, offering a new solution to using natural resources.

As the largest steel company in Fujian, Sangang Group based in Sanming has always adopted the strictest emission standards, which are stricter than those in the European Union, according to a local official.

Xie Jiaqin, director of the Sanming Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, added that many enterprises have invested in the city because of its superior ecological environment, which has become a golden “signboard” for the city.

While introducing enterprises in the primary, secondary and tertiary industries from outside, Sanming encourages them to develop new techniques and products by following a high-standard approach to preserve the city’s sound environment, rather than just bringing in production capacity.

Blessed with green ecology, Sanming has seen thriving low-carbon economy, green agriculture, forest and health industries. The wonderful story of Sanming coordinating ecological conservation and economic development continues.

China’s museums keep growing

China has become one of the countries with the fastest growing museum capability in the world during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), which is not only good news for museum-lovers, but has also brought more visitors to museums.

A visitor takes photos of an exhibit during a mineral-themed exhibition at Nanjing Museum in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, Nov. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Su Yang)

Statistics show that by the end of 2019, 5,535 museums have been registered nationwide, up 18 percent from 2015. Moreover, museums that are open to the public for free have increased from 85.5 percent to 89.1 percent.

In 2019 alone, museums across the country conducted 28,600 exhibitions, 334,600 educational events and received 1.2 billion visitors, up by 43, 67 and 75 percent respectively when compared with the numbers in 2015. Moreover, 203 museums have been included in the educational base list for middle school and elementary school students.

Wuzhong Museum in Suzhou city in east China’s Jiangsu province has recently held an educational event. During the two-hour event, nearly 300 elementary school students participated in activities such as treasure hunts, commemorative coin making, jigsaw puzzles competition and attending relevant courses. This has allowed young children to learn and experience the local Wu culture.

And this is only one of the many events the museum has launched since it was opened to public in June of this year. Aiming to develop itself into a high-level cultural complex with distinct features, it has launched a large number of events such as the exhibition of culture of the Three Kingdoms (220 to 280 AD), calligraphy and paintings of the Wu School of painting during the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD) and Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911 AD) as well as becoming a venue that offers courses on craftsmanship and kinds of seminars.

The past five years have also brought about an increasing number of non-state-owned museums, whose share has grown from 23.7 percent to 30.9 percent. Jianchuan Museum Cluster is so far the largest non-state museum project in China. There are 32 pavilions that are part of the museum cluster throughout Dayi county, Chengdu city, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China. In June 2018, Chongqing Jianchuan Museum in the Chongqing municipality, which borders Sichuan province, was also opened to public. The museum is composed of eight halls, including the old site of the First Armory Factory (Hanyang Arsenal), the Chongqing story hall, and the Chinese “Xi” (a Chinese character implying double happiness often used for wedding occasions) culture hall. Another hall was added in 2019.

“Without the opportunities of the times, how can I build so many museums,” Fan Jianchuan, curator of the Jianchuan Museum Cluster explained. Now the museum has become a national patriotic education base and a humanities and social sciences base in Chongqing, receiving over 1 million visitors every year.