Commentary: Building China's "city of future" with grit, perseverance

(Xinhua) 09:29, April 02, 2022

BEIJING, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Five years after ground was broken on Xiong'an New Area, this sustainable, modern, and innovative urban model is well beyond the "blueprint" stage. A "city of the future" is on the horizon and with it, a future of infinite possibilities.

A plan of this magnitude requires grit and perseverance unseen in a generation, as evidenced by the sweat and ambitions of the thousands of construction workers helping to build this project up from an idea to a livable city.

Everything -- from its initial plans to construction on the ground -- has been designed to relieve Beijing of functions non-essential to its role as the national capital. Each stage advanced with the highest standards, ensuring both quality and efficiency.

According to official statistics, with the financial backing of 618.4 billion yuan (97.2 billion U.S. dollars), construction has begun on 177 key projects. Among these priority projects, 60 -- accounting for over half of the investment to date -- have been completed.

Since 2021, Beijing-based universities, hospitals, and centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been brought into the project to assist the area's construction. SOEs have already set up more than 100 subsidiaries and branches across Xiong'an.

The building drive, however, has not come at the cost of the environment. From the very beginning, authorities have been firm that Xiong'an's beautiful and tranquil surroundings should be equally essential elements of the project. About 30,000 hectares have been regreened since November 2017, increasing the forest coverage rate from 11 percent to 32 percent. The water quality of Baiyangdian, the largest wetland ecosystem in northern China, is now significantly higher than before the project began, and wildlife populations have similarly benefited.

The progress of the new area, a microcopy of China's high-quality development, has been well observed by global watchers closely following the rebalancing of Chinese economic development. Xiong'an, therefore, is not only critically important for China's transition but is also relevant for the rest of the world, given the role that economic interdependence plays in the future of the global economy.

As a commentary by the U.S. Brookings Institute put it in 2018, a successful Xiong'an may profoundly change China's geo-economic landscape and contribute to the rebalancing of Chinese economic development. Xiong'an -- both a symbol of and a challenge to China's ongoing economic transformation -- thus deserves careful attention now, and in the years to come.

China will continue to adhere to its people-centered philosophy and proceed to realize green and low-carbon development with proper population density and return the environment to its original state. Only by providing a livable environment and quality public services will Xiong'an accommodate people's growing needs for a better life on China's great course toward modernization. 

(Web editor: Peng yukai, Liang Jun)


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