The 2016 Media Cooperation Forum Hosted by People's Daily has opened today. Lin Duo, governor of Gansu Province says that Gansu has made considerable progress in fashioning the province as the golden section of the New Silk Road. His province would continue deepening cooperation with other Silk Road regions and countries to jointly build the New Silk Road Economic Belt.
Lin Duo says Gansu is like a jade Ruyi belting in Northwest China. The province is storied to be home to 3,000 li or 1,500 kilometers of the ancient Silk Road and exhibits 8,000 years of Chinese history. Countless emissaries and traders came across each other on the soil of this province. The Yanzhi Mountain in Zhangye City is recorded to have hosted the world's first World Expo in the Sui Dynasty. And as it is well known, this province also gave birth to Dunhuang, a unique meeting place where the Chinese civilization, Indian civilization, Greek civilization and Islam come find each other and left invaluable traces. In our time, owing to the grand vision of the New Silk Road, Gansu has regained an important place with very bright prospects.
Governor Lin believes that Gansu's geographic importance once again stands out after the inauguration of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The ancient Silk Road covers 1,600 kilometers in Gansu. It produced such important trading towns as Jiuquan, Wuwei along with six others. Thanks to this geographic location, Gansu has leapfrogged some other provinces in the strategic importance in the New Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, both nationwide and in the region.
The “One Belt, One Road” initiative makes the rich natural/cultural resources of Gansu very relevant in the belt's construction. Gansu is known as the hometowns of non-ferrous metals and medicinal herbs in China. The province has one of the largest reserves of mineral resources in the country and also has the biggest plantation and production of Chinese medicinal herbs. It also ranks fifth nationwide in terms of the richness of cultural heritage. Needless to say, the capital flows, technology transfers and the integration of markets, all enabled by the construction of the Belt, will provide a great opportunity to explore and exploit these rich resources.
The “One Belt, One Road” initiative could make use of Gansu's solid industrial foundation. Gansu has one of the more complete industrial structures in China. The province is among the strongest in traditional heavy industry and light goods manufacturing. It has also made big headways in the development of new industries, manifested by the several national strategic new industry districts such as the Lanzhou New District, Gansu Circular Economy Pilot District, the Lanzhou-Baiyin Sic-tech Innovation and Reform District and the Creative Park of the Inheritance of the Chinese Civilization. The potential of these new developments, together with Gansu's strong traditional industries will be fully tapped when the construction of the Belt goes into full swing.
Lin Duo points out that Gansu has been very clear about its goal of building the province into the “golden section” of the Belt, and he lists the progress made in this direction in the following aspects:
Firstly, a golden passageway is quickly taking form. Gansu has always been an unavoidable passageway along the Silk Route. Over the last few years, the province has built two bonded zones or exempt zones, one in the city of Wuwei, the other in the Lanzhou New District. The province has also opened many international freight trains. In addition, Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport and Dunhuang Airport have both been promoted as international airports catering to a number of international flights.
Secondly, international commerce and trade are now expanding, both in scale and in quality. Gansu has now set up trade and commerce representative offices in eight participating countries, including Belarus and Malaysia. The province has also brought over 240 local companies abroad on various occasions, and some among those have found business opportunities and established presence in a foreign country. This year, the province hosted the 22nd Lanzhou Investment and Trade Forum centered on the theme of “building the New Silk Road together, and reap the benefits together”. 32 Belt and Road countries have sent delegates to the forum and many ended up signing substantial deals with local partners. These mechanisms will certainly continue expanding Gansu's commerce and trade with the Belt and Road countries.
Thirdly, international contact and exchanges have drastically increased. The Belt and Road is not only a trade route, it is also a culture route. The province is keen to expand international exchange and cooperation to the fields of education, health care and culture. Currently, Gansu is sister states/provinces with 25 states/provinces of Belt and Road countries. Its cities are now sister cities with 27 cities of the participating countries. Up till now, nearly 1,200 Central Asian students have stayed and studies in Gansu. Gansu's traditional Chinese medicine is going overseas. Now the province sponsors four TCM centers and eight Qihuang TCM academies in different Belt and Road countries. More and more clients from these countries are frequenting the TCM facilities. In addition, the province has also been promoting the “going-out” of its cultural productions. Dance dramas like the Silk Road Flowery Talk and Dunhuang, the Pearl of the Desert have been performed in 21 Belt and Road countries. Such contacts have increased the interest in and knowledge of Gansu among the spectators.
Fourthly, Gansu's international profile has been raised. Thanks to favors granted by the central government, Gansu has played host to a number of Belt and Road international conferences. Forums such as the Asia Cooperation Dialogue---Silk Road Implementation Forum, China-Central Asia Cooperation Dialogue and Silk Road Cooperation and Development Summit have drawn in participants from over 40 countries and regions. Hosting these forums not only facilitates the publicity of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, it also boosts Gansu's international visibility and profile.
Lin Duo stresses that those interested partners would find a Gansu that is candid, readily available and willing to share benefits.
Gansu hopes that the upcoming Dunhuang International Cultural Expo will be a success and all participating Belt and Road partners will join their forces together to make it so. Last year, the central leadership tasked Gansu and a number of ministries with the hosting of the Dunhuang International Cultural Expo, which is set to open on September 20. Being the only culture-themed Belt and Road international gathering of a national-level importance, the Expo so far has attracted 81 delegations of 50 countries and 19 sister cities in addition to four international organizations to participate.
Looking into the future, Gansu will continue focusing on fashioning itself as the major artery for the New Silk Road. The expanded transportation infrastructure will continue serving as a bridge linking central and eastern China to Central and Western Asia. The well-connected highways, railways and airways will work together to make Gansu a great logistics passageway and economic belt on its own. The province welcomes all strategic investors to visit the province and find it their new home.
The province will also take advantage of the fact that its industries are in many ways complementary to those of other Belt and Road countries. Gansu has huge potential in cooperation with partners in the fields of energy, metallurgy, machinery, chemical engineering, transportation, agriculture and tourism. The province is also very willing to provide conditions and environment for more advanced industries to move to Gansu.
Lastly, the province will continue attaching great importance to cultural exchange and people-to-people contact. The New Silk Road is a route of connection and people and culture are both the carrier and the ultimate purpose of this connection.