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Xiamen City Balances Economic Development with Environmental Protection

Source: Beijing Review | 2023-02-28 09:58   Click:

Global young leaders experience China’s tea culture firsthand in Xiamen City, Fujian Province, on February 25 (ZHANG WEI) 


After a group of young persons from around 10 countries set foot in Xiamen City on February 25, they are impressed with the economic potential as well as the environmental protection efforts in this city of Fujian Province in southeast China.  


Yundang Lake, located in the heart of Xiamen, is a seawater lake that reflects the urban landscape surrounding it like a shiny mirror. But this wasn’t always the case...The lake used to be very dirty, but since the late 1980s, the local government has transformed it into a prime tourist destination and a popular spot for relaxation.  


The young people visited the city from February 25-27 under the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD), a program that regularly takes international participants on tours of different regions across China to gain a more in-depth understanding of the country. 


Abdilahi Ismail Abdilahi, a Sinologist from Somalia who works at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told Beijing Review the transformation of the lake reflects China’s commitment to protecting its ecology.  


Md Misbahul Ferdous, Director of Clinical Research with Lepu Medical Beijing, echoed Abdilahi’s saying, “China has achieved much in terms of economic development over the past decades, which has provided other developing countries with experiences in balancing the two (i.e., economy and environment),” the Bengal doctor told Beijing Review. 


The Xiamen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is among China’s first batch of four special economic zones (the other three being Shenzhen, Shantou and Zhuhai), serving as a pilot area for the country’s reform and opening up since the late 1970s and early 1980s, and for promoting cross-Straits cooperation and exchanges, in addition to boosting Xiamen’s growth. 


The State Council, China’s cabinet, approved the establishment of the Xiamen SEZ in October 1980. Today, it covers the entire city of Xiamen. SEZs in China are defined as small geographical areas that allow foreign companies to have access to lower taxes and better economic conditions for their business. 


“The designated SEZ is a China’s model to boost economic development and growth,” Ilaf Elard, associate professor of Practice in Economics and Core Faculty Member at the Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at New York University Shanghai, told Beijing Review at the Xiamen Special Economic Zone Memorial Hall. 


When China has developed, it will also benefit developed and other developing countries, Elard elaborated. 


The GYLD group also visited the exhibition hall of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution Innovation Center (BPIC). The creation of the innovation center was proposed during the 12th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian Province, in November 2020, to help BRICS countries pool ideas on how to best use technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain. The BPIC now covers the entire city as it promotes cooperation among participating countries. The BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are home to over 40 percent of the world population and about one fourth of the global economy. 


“The BRICS partnership provides a development model for the world,” Ferdous said.