China and France to promote eco-friendly development

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 8, 2019
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Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to China, addresses the Sixth Sino-French Forum on Sustainable Urban Development held on July 5 in Beijing. [Photo by Chen Boyuan / Courtesy of CCOIC]

Boya and Zhong Ziqi were two legendary figures from central China's Hubei province during the Warring States period (475-221 BC). For thousands of years, the story about their highly consistent appreciation of music has never died out.

Their affinity was first established when Zhong saw Boya playing the Chinese zither. He interpreted Boya's performance so well that they soon became close friends, and the rendition that Boya performed was later metaphorized as "gorgeous mountains and gurgling water."

Today, a cooperative program involving China and France in building an eco-friendly urban environment in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, ushered in a new era of bilateral ties that equaled friendship. However, this time, the consistent acknowledgement has not been initiated by zither strings but by the common concern of climate change, which presumably resulted from greenhouse emission and environmental devastation.

"In China about 790 million people are living in cities. While being attracted to urban life, we are causing 70% of carbon-dioxide emissions," said Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to China.

Ripert made his remark at the Sixth Sino-French Forum on Sustainable Urban Development held on July 5 in Beijing. The event was organized in a bid to mark the "Wuhan's Day" of the International Horticultural Exhibition running from April 29 to Oct. 7, this year, in Beijing. 

In building a livable city epitomized in Wuhan, Ripert hopes that the layout of the city will be able to preserve eco-diversity and enhance the endeavor of environmental protection.

Ripert also quoted Ban Ki-moon, saying, "we don't have a plan B, because we don't have a second earth."

In order to drive Wuhan into the orbit of sustainable development, China and France signed a letter of intent on March 26, 2014, hoping that their cooperation can exemplify a trend for future urban evolution.

Guest speaker Yu Jianlong, secretary-general of the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), said that the forum, hosted annually since 2014, has been targeting green and low-carbon development, including the protection of the Yangtze River. The achievements made by both sides over the past five years are remarkable.

According to Xu Honglan, deputy mayor of Wuhan, more than 50 projects concerning the Belt and Road Initiative, the strategy for the rise of central China, the holistic reform, and the Free Trade Zone, were launched in the city in the past few years.

In 2018, Wuhan's gross domestic product (GDP) almost reached 1.5 trillion yuan (about $218 billion), securing a growth of 8% year-over-year, 1.4 percentage points higher than the growth rate across the country. 

In addition to the exploration of new energies and materials for a green economy, the city, riding on the tide of China's major development policies adopted for its central and western regions, is spearheading in making storages, smart vehicles, integrated circuits, and optoelectronic information.

At the same time, Wuhan has introduced the technology adopted by their French counterparts in dealing with the conservation of rivers and lakes. This year, the city government will also provide communal space as business offices for French enterprises.

The forum, hosted by the Wuhan government, Hubei Sub-Council of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the French Consulate in Wuhan, responded to China's economic restructuring and its battle for lush mountains and lucid waters.

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