Mianshan Mountain: Environmental protection and reforestation

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Mianshan Mountain is the birthplace of national intangible cultural heritage—the Chinese Qingming/Hanshi Festival. It is located in Jiexiu City of central Shanxi Province, 137 kilometers south of Taiyuan and 125 kilometers north of Linfen.

The mountain is noted for its natural and cultural scenes, especially for its cultural relics. Visitors can take a five- to seven-day trip to learn about Cold Food culture, Buddhist culture, Taoist culture, military culture or health preservation culture.

Covering an area of 75 square kilometers, the mountain is a national scenic spot with 14 tourist areas and 400 attractions.

Environmental protection was given top priority when Mianshan Mountain was exploited in 1995. Sanjia Group of Shanxi Province invested 100 million Yuan in the mountain’s reforestation and beautification. Trees, grasses and flowers were planted along roads and around all the cultural landscapes. Altogether 650,000 trees were planted and 160,000 square meters of lawns were cultivated. Through 10 km pipes, water that is pumped up from four wells can be transferred to the mountain top and used to irrigate the newly planted trees.

A 12 km blow-off line and three treating facilities have been set up to deal with wastes. Both the sewage treatment rate and sewage discharge rate have reached 100 percent. The 1,500 cubic meters of sewage discharged to the treatment plant in Jijiazhuang Village has been cleansed to irrigate crops and feed livestock. A team of 150 professionals has been organized, and each one is kept responsible for the environmental issues in a certain place. Sixteen aqua privies (water closets) and three wooden closets have been set up. All the garbage is being classified and properly disposed.

As the environment gets better, many rare animals like the red-crowned crane and golden eagle have settled here. A leopard was once found injured at the Shuitao Gully and was rescued in time. It was later sent to the Taiyuan Zoo for better treatment, arousing much concern among the public.

Role model for private enterprise developing tourism

Mainshan Mountain’s development is a model of transition from resource industry to green industry. Since it was opened to the public May 1, 2000, this resort has remained one of the hottest scenic spots in Shanxi. It received 800,000 visitors in 2009 and made a profit of more than 100 million Yuan (US $14.6 million).

The exploitation of Mianshan Mountain has absorbed 2000 laborers, including the laid-off workers and rural labor forces, significantly easing Jiexiu’s employment pressure. Since 2000, Jiexiu’s investment in the tertiary industry has kept an annual increase of 20 percent, and the occupancy rate of the city’s hotels has stayed above 70 percent. All in all, Mianshan Mountain’s further exploitation has become a driving force for the sustainable development of Jiexiu.

Until 2003, about 90,000 visitors—active duty servicemen, disabled servicemen, the elderly and teachers—have gotten free tours at Mianshan Mountain. Such welfare was expanded to cover all the Jiexiu locals in 2003, saving about 10 million Yuan (US $1.46 million) for the people.

Private enterprise’s successful use of Mianshan Mountain aroused wide concern among the neighboring provinces. Officials and business managers from Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Henan, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shanghai and Tianjin came here for inspection. After a three-day visit, then-Secretary of Hunan Provincial Party Committee Yang Zhengwu spoke rather highly of Mianshan Mountain’s development.

Shanxi’s Vice Governor Zhang Ping also praised Yan Jiying, Board Chairman of Sanjia Group, at the third session of the Qingming/Hanshi Cultural Forum: “Sincerely, I want to take this chance to thank Mr. Yan Jiying. Mr Yan is one of the earliest Shanxi entrepreneurs who is devoted to the culture industry. His success is a model for the development of the culture industry, not only in Shanxi, but across the nation.”

At a State Council’s regular meeting held on March 24, 2010, private capital was encouraged to flow into the industries that are not restricted to public funding. Private enterprisers are thus endowed with broader space for development.

Under the Party’s proper guidance, Sanjia Group is determined and confident to build Mianshan Mountain into an international tourist spot. Mianshan Mountain, home of the Hanshi and Qingming culture, will embrace a more brilliant future.

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