In 800 A.D., Tang poet Li Bai sang the praises of Chengdu by likening it to a natural painting scroll hanging from heaven, “Like a painting scroll hanging from the zenith, it is densely covered with numberless houses.” While the world has changed a great deal in the past 1,200 years, the charming scenery and beautiful culture of Chengdu have not faded a bit over time.
Inhabited by 16 million people, this inland city lying where China’s “the Belt and Road” National Strategy and Yangtze Economic Zone Strategy overlap has emerged as the sixth “National Central City” by virtue of its strategic geographical location and great success in urban economy.
In China, the term “National Central City” is assigned to a city at the top urban governance level to assert its global image and task it with the role of a frontrunner local economy.
According to Chengdu municipal government, it has implemented great reform to put the National Central City into operation, the newest route map for a city with a historic-making starting point is rolling out for the green development of Chengdu.
Global Fame for Ecology and Attractions
Nature, history and culture have combined to make Chengdu one of the world’s most preferable destinations of global tourists. With five World Heritage Sites, the 2,000-year-old city in Western China ranks among the first State Council-named 24 historic cities and prides itself on the oldest world-known urban heritage sites in Asia – Kuan and Zhai Alleys, Jinli, Panda Breeding Ground, Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage, Wuhou Shrine, Dujiangyan Irrigation Project and Mount Qingcheng.
Chengdu was rated as the “Most Recommended Tourist Destination in China” in 2015 and 2016. In June, National Geographic Traveler magazine, run by National Geographic Society, recommended 21 must-sees, citing Chengdu as the only Chinese candidate along with Uri (Switzerland), Georgia (the U.S.), the Cradle of Mankind (South Africa), etc. “The vibrant city is perfusing China with vitality.” Ernest Hemingway Award winner John Creech commented.
In fact, tourists have the final say. They cast votes with their feet. In 2016 alone Chengdu drew 2.7 million foreign tourists and more than 200 million visits.
One out of every seven Chinese travelled to Chengdu in 2016, pushing it high above many provinces in respect of all-year tourism revenue.
Harmonious Coexistence of Man and Nature
Located in eastern suburb of Chengdu, Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a must-see place for foreign and domestic tourists. This is a place with 30 years history and one of the representatives for harmony between “human and nature” in Chengdu, China even the whole world. Chengdu is the hometown to giant pandas with 170 pandas living in this idyllic breeding and research base with green coverage ratio of 96% which establishes an appropriate ecological living environment for giant pandas and various rare wild animals. It is now being called “Urban Home for Giant Pandas” by foreign and domestic tourists.
Built more than 2,000 years ago, Dujiangyan Irrigation Project now still gives its play. It is the oldest, largest and only surviving hydraulic engineering construction in the world characterized by no-dam irrigation system. Millennium Dujiangyan seems like the miniature of Chengdu reflecting co-existence between human and nature with time flying.
With a history of thousands of years and numerous cultural landscapes conserved, Chengdu has now become the model city which showcases harmony between human and nature.
Green First-Based Urban Construction
On weekends, the Qinglong Lake and Jincheng Lake in Chengdu are very lively, with birds twittering in woods and people strolling along the lake. This is the best benefit to local citizens from the ecological zone around Chengdu and it will be better. Last year, the local government clearly expressed to invest nearly RMB 600 billion in ecological civilization construction.
As one of the most important civil engineering, the ecological zone around Chengdu will be finished in 2020. When the time comes, one third of Chengdu will be an ecological green land, which is made of six ecological lakes including Jincheng Lake, Jiang’an Lake, Jinsha Lake, Anjing Lake, Bei Lake and Qinglong Lake as well as eight aquatic crop areas. Chengdu citizens can enjoy the ecological nature without going far from the city.
Zhu Ke, having spent seven years in Melbourne, decided to settle down in Chengdu when she came to this city three years ago. “The market is just downstairs, very convenient. On my way home from work, I could buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks when passing by the Financial Center and get the materials for dinner”, said Zhu Ke. In the future, such a comfortable and convenient “work-life circle” will cover every corner of Chengdu.
After having a baby, Zhu Ke stays with other moms living in the same residence area every weekend. They often take babies to the parks. There were many parks nearby and it only took 15 minutes to Jincheng Park, Zhu Ke told us.
By the side of Jincheng Park, there is Jincheng Lake. As the first established one among the six lakes, it has now become the best place to go for a ride, take a walk or do some running.
Over the past “NPC & CPPCC”, the topic on economic civilization construction attracted high attention. Green development occupies the position of top prominence. Green, the background color of urban development, is the dominant color of establishing the “National Central City”. As the green development plan is put into implementation, a livable ecological “National Central City” is under construction.