Guizhou province ready to rebuild its image

08:26, February 01, 2011      

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Unlike some easily-content officials, the governor of Southwest China's Guizhou province is still uneasy with the province's 12 percent annual GDP growth over the past five years.

What Zhao Kezhi is concerned about is how the province of 40 million people - which ranks last among all provincial-level regions in China in terms of per capita GDP - will catch up with the country's fast development.

"Guizhou's development has no further room to lag. It already has its back against the wall," Zhao said in a recent interview.

Guizhou is demographically one of China's most diverse provinces. Seventeen ethnic groups other than Han account for more than 37 percent of the population. And 55 percent of the province's area is designated as autonomous prefectures and counties for ethnic minorities.

In 2010, the year that China's central and local governments began drafting the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), Zhao was transferred from East China's coastal Jiangsu province to govern the less-developed province on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.

Zhao said Guizhou, which has seen a declining contribution to the country's GDP, is slow in industrial development.

The current rate of industrialization of the landlocked plateau province is 15 percent lower than the national average.

Zhao said apart from limited conditions, officials' ideology and concepts also constrain Guizhou's development.

"Some said Guizhou cannot develop too slow or too fast."

He said the mountainous province cannot skip the phase of industrialization and leap into becoming a modern civilization. Only a stronger industrial sector could increase fiscal and tax incomes to address difficulties in people's livelihood.

"Guizhou has achieved a lot of progress compared to the past. But when compared to the national pace, the gap is even wider."

"The words 'poor' and 'slow-paced' should not be associated with Guizhou when we mention the province. We want to fix our image."

Zhao said Guizhou will build 3,200 kilometers of railways and 3,000 km of highways in the next five years to bring the total lengths of the two transportation networks to 5,000 km and 4,500 km.

With continuous improvement of the transport infrastructure and cost-driven migration of industrial enterprises from the coastal regions to the western regions, Guizhou has great development potential, Zhao said.

Guizhou has the largest coal and phosphor reserves in Southwest China and is one of the major suppliers of bauxite in China.

"As long as our cadres broaden their views and mentalities, ideas to inspire Guizhou's development will be widened," he said.

Guizhou is also a tourist province with January temperatures ranging from 1 C to 10 C and July temperatures from 17 C to 28 C.

It also boasts the second largest waterfall in the world, the Huangguoshu Waterfall, and the unique karst landform, which features grand karst caves and canyons.

Source: China Daily

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