Guizhou: Garnering gold from green

By Zhang Jiaqi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 7, 2023
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Amid a drizzle on Monday, more than 20 ambassadors and senior diplomats from 19 countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, along with Chinese officials, planted13 osmanthus trees at the International Ecological Forest for Friendship in southwestern China's Guizhou province to mark World Environment Day.

International diplomats plant osmanthus trees at the International Ecological Forest for Friendship in southwestern China's Guizhou province on June 5, 2023. [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

In recent years, Guizhou has embraced a tree-planting tradition as a testament to its commitment to environmental preservation. Since 2015, Guizhou officials at various levels have continued the practice of planting trees on the first working day after the Spring Festival holiday. Over the course of a decade, from 2012 to 2022, approximately 3.58 million hectares of land were reforested throughout the province.

In its unwavering pursuit of environmental initiatives, Guizhou has turned green into gold.

Growing gains

Huawu village, where the trees were planted, once faced ecological challenges from soil erosion and river pollution caused by net pen aquaculture. However, by increasing forest coverage and adhering to the Yangtze River fishing ban, this village near the source of the Wujiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, has embraced a more resilient eco-environment.

Huawu village in southwestern China's Guizhou province. [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

Tapping into the potential of the area's natural beauty, the village has developed into a tourist destination. Its hospitality sector attracts visitors from both near and far, especially during holidays, leading to economic prosperity for the local community.

During the May Day holiday, the village even issued a notice saying that tourist numbers had exceeded its reception capacity and recommended traveling during non-peak times.

The small village is just one of many examples of how Guizhou has turned green into gold. Data shows that the province's green economy accounted for 46% of its GDP in 2022, 9 percentage points higher than 2017.

The gains extend beyond economic terms to include an enhanced awareness of eco-environment protection.

The villagers said that with a deeper understanding of their close connection to the mountains and rivers, they are duty bound to protect them.

International recognition

Guizhou's pristine eco-environment has become a symbol of pride, winning many compliments from visiting diplomats.

During a five-day visit organized by the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies under China International Communications Group and Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions, participating diplomats learned about Guizhou's ecological efforts, green economic development, rural revitalization, and more.

"People here live in harmony with nature," said Nomsa Daphne Mlotshwa, minister counselor of the Botswana Embassy in China, adding that from a country that is mostly desert, she envisions bilateral collaborations in combating desertification, an area in which "China is doing extremely well."

Ambassador of Colombia to China Sergio Cabrera lauded Guizhou's visionary approach, describing the efforts as "the way for the future."

Fijian Ambassador to China Manasa R. Tagicakibau gives an interview in southwestern China's Guizhou province on June 6, 2023. [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

Fijian Ambassador to China Manasa R. Tagicakibau expressed his admiration for Guizhou's clean air, water and environment, affirming that he would recommend others visit for these reasons. "Lucid water and lush mountains hold true here in Guizhou," he said.

He added that he could see that in terms of eco-environment collaborations with the international community, China is not only talking the talk but also walking the walk.

Tao Pingsheng, an official from the Guizhou provincial government, said that "through the visit to Guizhou, we would like to convey a message that China is willing to shoulder its due responsibility in environmental protection and share experiences with other countries in this regard."

"We look forward to promoting collaborations in advancing ecological progress and developing the green economy and joining hands with other members of the international community to build a better home on Earth," he added.

The Ambassadors Roundtable Dialogue on Ecological Civilization is held in southwestern China's Guizhou province on June 6, 2023. [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

Together in Guizhou, the international diplomats made a joint statement on ecological civilization on June 5, World Environment Day, calling on all countries and regions to work together. They also exchanged insights on eco-environmental matters with Chinese officials at a roundtable discussion on June 6.

The Eco Forum Global Guiyang 2023 will be held from July 8-9 in the province's capital city, according to a press conference on Monday. The ecology-focused national-level forum has been held for 11 sessions since 2019.

"It's very important to fight for the green environment. Anything we do rewards," Cabrera said.

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