Doing his best to make it better
Updated: 2015-07-20 11:15
By Zhao Huanxin(China Daily)
Qu Yingpu (third left), deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily and Wang Zhongbing (second left) visit the Baosteel Zhanjiang plant with guests attending the Forum on Internet Media of China held in Zhanjiang on July 17, 2015. [Photo/China Daily]
Exports of seafood to European and American markets used to exceed 1 million tons a year. The exports are now declining. How will Zhanjiang respond?
Shrimp exports to the United States dropped in the first half of this year, and so it is with other seafoods to other countries. Actually, we are attaching equal importance to developing the domestic market, which is huge. Last year, Zhanjiang hosted a national aquatic product fair and such events will be held in the city annually to boost consumption.
You envision Zhanjiang having a "slow traffic lane of 300 kilometers" to support the "Footprint City" action plan. But we seem to have all embarked on a fast-track way of life …
It all boils down to cultivating a way of living, whether you want to have your life dependent on polluting private wheels or cutting your carbon footprint by using more public transport, bicycles or simply by walking. Here is where the government should play a guiding role. Countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and Finland have facilities and designs that make pedestrians and cyclists fare well in cities. For Zhanjiang, we don't necessarily have to build new roads for pedestrians and cyclists, we just need to reallocate the rights to use the roads, for example, reserving lanes for walkers and bicycles and even for e-bikes. We anticipate the ratio of lanes designated to pedestrians and cyclists will take up 40 percent of the roads in Zhanjiang. By then we can call it a modest "footprint city".
You mentioned Russia, Finland and Germany, and you seem to have visited them a lot in recent years. What have you learned during your visits?
Like many Chinese officials, I used to pay a lot of attention to industrial development when I travel-led abroad. But now I focus on the social development, like why there are so many smiling faces in every city I visit? How have the culture and environment been protected in these developed countries amid their economic booms? In Odense, the third-largest city in Denmark, places for residents to park their bicycles can be seen everywhere, many households have at least two bicycles for different purposes. There are a lot of things that Zhanjiang could do the same way.
You are a fluent English speaker. Does this help sharpen your vision and expand your horizons?
You actually become more modest and humble after you communicate with and get to know the insights of other peoples and immerse yourself in different cultures. You become more open-minded, open to different views, to criticism. As a mayor, I know I am not the best, but in everything I do, I do my best.
Location: South China's Guangdong province
Size: 13,200 sq km
Population: 7.85 million
Coastline: 2,040 km
・ Iron and steel project
Investment: 50 billion yuan ($8.05 billion)
Capacity: 8.75 million tons of steel annually in the first phase
Planned time for completion of first phase: 2015
・ Petrochemicals project
Planned time for completion: crude oil project by 2016, ethylene project by 2017
Capacity: 15 million tons of crude oil annually, 800,000 tons of ethylene annually