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Lucid Waters and Lush Mountains Are Invaluable Assets

By:The Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies

Lucid Waters and Lush Mountains Are Invaluable Assets

Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. This is an important concept for development in the new era and a major principle behind China's modernization drive.

The comparison of mountains of green with mountains of gold was first made by Xi Jinping in 2005 when he visited Yucun, a village in Zhejiang Province, in his capacity as secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee. 

This idea bears on the future of the Chinese civilization and people's wellbeing, as it cherishes harmony between humanity and nature and between the economy and society, so that a sound eco-environment and fast economic growth can be both maintained. This is because maintaining a sound eco-environment will surely benefit humanity, while damaging nature will incur harm in the end. Humanity can enjoy a sound eco-environment only by fostering harmony with nature and creating a sound eco-environment for ourselves.

Responding to students in Kazakhstan in September 2013, Xi Jinping said, "We want to have not only mountains of gold, but also mountains of green. If we must choose between the two, we would rather have the green than the gold. And in any case, green mountains are themselves gold mountains." He also pointed out that China will never seek short-term economic growth at the expense of its eco-environment. The goal of building an eco-civilization and a beautiful China is to leave to future generations a legacy of blue skies, green vegetation and clear waters.

The references to green mountains and gold mountains make it easy to understand the relationship between environmental protection and economic development, the two of which do not conflict with each other, but can make progress side by side. On the one hand, clear waters and green mountains are not only natural and eco-environmental wealth, but also social and economic wealth. Healthy ecosystems promise boundless economic potential, generate steady returns, and contribute to economic and social sustainability. On the other hand, they make a major contribution to a happy life for the people, much more precious than economic returns. A good eco-environment is the shared wealth of the people, a fair public product, and the most inclusive form of public wellbeing.

The concept that mountains of green are mountains of gold is rooted in the Chinese philosophy about "unity of humanity and nature" and harmony between the two. It interprets the relationship between economic development and eco-environmental protection, thus: Protecting the eco-environment equates to protecting productive forces; improving the eco-environment equates to enhancing productive forces. This is a new way to coordinate development and protection.






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