"Green Great Wall", gateway, and Mongolian horses -- Xi on China's modernization at "two sessions"

(Xinhua) 09:05, March 07, 2022

BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- As a national lawmaker, President Xi Jinping joins other deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) each year to deliberate issues of national importance at the annual "two sessions."

On Saturday, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, took part in the deliberation with fellow lawmakers from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

It was the fifth year in a row he did so since he was elected a member of the delegation in 2018.

What Xi has discussed with his fellow deputies from Inner Mongolia not only bears on the development of the region, but also gives a glimpse into China's modernization path.

Xi has used three metaphors to define Inner Mongolia's roles in China's modernization, and identify priorities of the country's modernization drive and what it takes to achieve the goal.


Inner Mongolia, situated along China's northern border, is seen as a shield for the country's ecological security. The region is China's "green Great Wall," according to Xi.

Ecological conservation has been a key topic during Xi's discussions with lawmakers from the region over the years.

In 2021, a massive modernization plan was adopted, highlighting "green development" as a priority.

During the deliberation in that year's NPC annual session, Xi told lawmakers from Inner Mongolia that the region should unswervingly prioritize ecological conservation and boost green development, as they discussed desertification control and forest protection.

Lawmaker Zhang Xiaobing from the city of Bayannur told the delegation about local efforts in eco-system restoration and the prevention of desertification near the northerly bend of the Yellow River.

Xi, who was familiar with the situation in the region near this section of the Yellow River, said, "Local environmental protection involves both tackling the salinization of agricultural land and preventing and controlling desertification."

Xi has always stressed adopting "a holistic approach" to conserving mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands. This time, he brought "deserts" into the picture, saying that their protection needs top-level design and comprehensive measures.

Lawmaker Zhou Yizhe shared with the delegation his personal story of transforming from a logger to a forest ranger, as the tree farm where he works has completely abandoned timber production to engage in environmental protection.

Zhou said the tree farm has become a habitat to more wild animals, and the eco-system in the forests and wetlands there has become a source of wealth.

"Your identity shift from a logger to a forest ranger epitomizes our country's transformation in industrial structures," Xi said after hearing Zhou's story.


The modernization roadmap adopted at the 2021 NPC session has vowed to increase the "breadth and depth" of China's opening-up.

Stressing improving the regional opening-up structure, the plan pledged efforts to "fuel the development of inland areas and push them to the forefront of opening-up."

Though a landlocked region, Inner Mongolia assumes special strategic importance in the country's opening-up landscape as it shares a long border in the north.

In an inspection tour to Inner Mongolia in 2014, Xi called on the region to facilitate reform and development through further opening up, develop port economy, and strengthen the building of infrastructure.

During the deliberation in 2021, Xi called for efforts to build Inner Mongolia into an important gateway for China's northward opening up, and told the region to make full use of its unique advantages and actively participate in the joint building of the Belt and Road.


Inner Mongolia boasts vast grasslands, which are home to Mongolian horses.

Joining deliberations with lawmakers from the region during the 2020 NPC session, Xi called on people from Inner Mongolia to vigorously carry forward the "spirit of the Mongolian horses" in building a modern socialist country.

Giving his definition of the spirit, Xi once said the Mongolian horses are known for their toughness, stamina and strong physique.

"We should work like the Mongolian horses and have diligent and daring spirit," Xi said. 

(Web editor: Peng yukai, Liang Jun)


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