Anyang: An ancient city ready to take flight

By Liu Ning, Zhang Kaiwei, Huo Yaping, Chen Si, Cui Yue, Elena Davydova (People's Daily Online) 08:59, May 18, 2024

Anyang, located in central China's Henan Province, is a city steeped in history, but at the same time poised for a dynamic future. Renowned for its rich cultural heritage and significant archaeological discoveries, Anyang stands as a testament to China's ancient civilization while embracing modernity through innovation.

Drone photo taken on March 29, 2024 shows the skyline of Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

With its vibrant and diverse cultural heritage, the city holds a pivotal place in Chinese history, notably as the capital of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.), one of the earliest recorded dynasties in ancient China. Archaeological sites such as the Yin Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offer a glimpse into the region’s glorious past, with its many relics and artifacts shedding light on early Chinese civilization. Visitors to the city can explore ancient temples, pagodas, and museums showcasing artifacts from various periods. Anyang captivates visitors with its diverse offerings and promising future.

Exploring the cradle of Chinese civilization

Photo taken on March 25, 2024 shows the oracle bones displayed at the new building of Yinxu Museum in Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

How do you tell whether today is a good day to go to school or go hunting? Thousands of years ago, people in the Shang Dynasty used oracle bones to find the answer. These bones, primarily ox scapulae or tortoise shells, were used for divination purposes. Diviners inscribed questions on matters such as harvests, the weather, or royal decisions onto the bones, which were later heated to produce cracks then interpreted as divine answers, providing guidance to the ruling elite.

The crowning glory of Yin Ruins lies in its oracle bone discovery, which marked a pivotal moment in the understanding of ancient Chinese culture and language. Li Xiaoyang, head of Anyang Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics, said that Chinese characters are very intriguing, especially the method of creating characters, which originated from the oracle bone inscriptions, and our culture is preserved through the inheritance of these characters.

The Yin Ruins is regarded as a testament to Anyang's ancient past and the cradle of Chinese civilization. Dating back over 3,000 years, this archaeological site unveils the remnants of the Shang Dynasty, showcasing palace foundations, ritual vessels, and oracle bone inscriptions. It continues to draw scholars, historians, and tourists eager to unlock the mysteries of China's early history.

Drone photo taken on March 25, 2024 shows the new building of Yinxu Museum in Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

A new building of Yinxu Museum in Anyang city officially opened to the public on Feb. 26, 2024. Its grand opening marks a significant milestone in the preservation and showcasing of the region’s rich cultural heritage.

The museum showcases nearly 4,000 items or sets of cultural relics, including bronzeware, pottery, oracle bones, and jade objects. Over three-fourths of these relics are being shown to the public for the first time. “We are going to let Chinese people as well as our friends from other countries to know more about Chinese culture by publicizing our archaeological achievements and showing our cultural relics,” said Li.

Embracing low-altitude economy to develop new quality productive forces

Photo taken on March 28, 2024 shows drones in a UAV workshop in Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

After the operator clicks the mouse to mark several locations on a digital map, the lid of a drone station automatically opens. A drone then flies out of the station to check all the marked locations and returns to the station autonomously after its mission is completed. This is not a scene from a sci-fi movie, but something that actually took place in the UAV industrial park in Anyang. The UAV can be used in many fields such as agriculture, rescue, meteorology and industry.

The low-altitude economy covers a wide range of industries focusing on both manned and unmanned civil aerial vehicles. The sector includes aircraft manufacturing, low-altitude flight operations, and a slew of related services. The low-altitude economy was highlighted in China's Government Work Report for the first time this year, making it a key factor in nurturing new quality productive forces and a new growth engine.

According to an action plan issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and three other government departments recently, China will establish a new development model for the general aviation industry characterized by high-end, intelligent and green features by 2030.

Photo taken on March 26, 2024 shows visitors paragliding at Linlv Mountain International Paragliding Site in Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

In addition to industrial use, Anyang makes full use of its natural resources to develop the low-altitude economy for tourism and sports. Linlv Mountain International Paragliding Site is located at Anyang's Linzhou. Its take-off zone is on the east side of Taihang Mountains Grand Canyon, with an altitude of about 1,280 meters and an area of about 16,000 square meters. It can accommodate nearly a hundred paragliders taking off at the same time.

In recent years, Anyang has emphasized the low-altitude economy and UAV industry, and is working on the construction of related infrastructures and 5G UAV management and control platforms to explore the UAV management and service mode, which covers four levels (country, province, city and county). Several urban application scenarios have been developed and promoted to the whole country. In 2023 alone, nearly 20 business projects were realized, with a revenue of nearly 50 million RMB (about 6.9 million US dollars).

You Bingbing, General Manager of Anyang Honeycomb Intelligent Equipment Co., Ltd, pointed out that as low-altitude airspace continues to open up, their drones play a crucial role in the low-altitude economy. The company has developed various industry-level drone products for security patrols, oil pipeline inspections, forest firefighting patrols, environmental monitoring, and emergency communications.

"We continuously invest in research and development. We kept advancing, no matter how hard it was, all thanks to our hard work and self-reliance," said You.

Inheriting the spirit brought by the Red Flag Canal engineering marvel

Drone photo taken on March 28, 2024 shows the Red Flag Canal in Linzhou, Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

One of Anyang's most impressive engineering feats is the Red Flag Canal.

With bare hands, local villagers carved out a 1,500-kilometer canal along the steep crags of Taihang Mountain in the 1960s. Within a decade, they brought precious water from the Zhanghe River in bordering Shanxi Province to Anyang's then drought-stricken area, Linxian county, now known as Linzhou.

After the canal was completed, it provided drinking water to 600,000 people and 37,000 heads of livestock, and irrigated 36,000 hectares of arable land.

People in Linzhou overcame numerous challenges to make the impossible possible, forging the spirit of the Red Flag Canal, which emphasizes self-reliance, hard work, solidarity and cooperation, and selfless dedication.

76-year-old Zhang Maijiang was the youngest among the 300,000 people mobilized for the waterway's construction, “We had to complete the construction no matter how tough it was, so that our descendants would no longer suffer from water shortages,” he said.

As visitors from far and wide flock to witness the marvels of the Red Flag Canal, they are reminded of the extraordinary achievements that can be accomplished through unity and perseverance. The Red Flag Canal stands as a shining beacon of hope, inspiring people to overcome adversity and forge a path towards a brighter tomorrow.

Photo taken on March 28, 2024 shows students visiting Red Flag Canal in Linzhou, Anyang, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

From the ancient wonders of Yin Ruins to the modern achievements of its low-altitude economy and the enduring legacy of the Red Flag Canal, Anyang embodies the spirit of innovation, resilience, and cultural heritage. As the city continues to thrive and evolve, it remains an inspiration for both locals and visitors, inviting all to discover the treasures it holds and the stories it continues to tell.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Wu Chengliang)


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