TO STRIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: A BOOMING OASIS CITY ON THE SILK ROAD
Written by: Zhu Mingjun
Posted on: December 04, 2012 | Comments | 中文 (Chinese)
An Interview With Chen Xuguang, Secretary of CCP Working Committee of Kashgar Economic Development Zone and Secretary of CCP Kashgar City Committee
The construction of the Kashgar Economic Development Zone (KEDZ) is in full swing, marked by the launch of the land expropriation and housing removal for “Project No.1” (“Shenka Avenue”). It includes the construction of “one district” and “one zone”, namely the new urban district and the industrial zone, each covering 5 square kilometers of area. The new district, to be located in the eastern zone of Kashgar, focuses on developing key industries, including commerce and trade, international finance, tax-free-shopping, cultural & creative industries, hi-tech R&D and IT consulting industry. The industrial zone, which is the core of KEDZ, is to be built in the north of Kashgar with the airport at its center. The main industries include bonded logistics, export processing, and light manufacturing, etc. The Kashgar Shenzhen Industrial Park has been initiated and seen promising success. Thirty-two enterprises, including Shenzhen North-South Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Iron Tower Investment Co., Ltd., and Jieyuan Environmental Protection and Development Co., Ltd. of Guangdong, have signed letters of intent and their total investment is expected to be more than RMB 13.5 billion.
|A glimpse of Kashgar City|
The close cooperation of Shenzhen and Kashgar for over a year has resulted in a harvest of investment agreements which amount to more than RMB 5 billion. At the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Service Center at KEDZ, eight famous enterprises, including Bao Steel Group Corporation and Bright Foods Co., Ltd., signed letters of intent to invest as much as RMB 4.83 billion.
Chen Xuguang, Secretary of the CCP Working Committee of the Kashgar Economic Development Zone and Secretary of the CCP Kashgar City Committee, gives an overview of the blueprint of the zone. Focusing on the development tendency of the zone, the Kashgar City Government uses the following words as guidelines: “Make full use of the preferential policies, uplift the orientation of the zone, minimize disadvantages, maximize advantages, aim high and make a breakthrough.” It is expected to create a new international city on the Silk Road by keeping in line with the concept of low-carbon, eco-friendly, sustainable development instead of being confined to the stereotypical model of depending on resources investment for development.
|The Uygur women at work|
The key features of the new district are elaborated below.
Firstly, a flow economy featured by low emission and high yield is the backbone of KEDZ. Efforts will be made to boost industries covering finance, tourism and logistics to draw in more human resources, material resources, capital and information, as well as to alleviate drawbacks concerning shortages in land, labor, etc. Meanwhile, more opportunities will be created to attract talent at home and abroad to facilitate the development of Kashgar and make a speedy improvement in its economy possible.
Secondly, the protection, inheritance and development of historical and cultural heritages are the bases for development of the zone. More emphasis will be put on promoting the historical and cultural heritage and on tackling the relationship between development and protection in the best way possible, considering that Kashgar is a historical city with a history of more than 2,000 years. It is hoped that the city will vibrate with the pulse that perfectly merges protection and development. The city will develop through combining its historical culture and modern civilization, which will be the soul of a new Kashgar city.
Thirdly, low-carbon emissions and eco-friendliness are the guiding lines of development. A low-carbon economy and lifestyle will be advocated and the ecological vision will be safeguarded. Rivers, lakes, wetlands, vegetation, oasis and grassland in and around Kashgar will be well protected and the relationship between the exploration of resources and the protection of the environment will be well managed in order to preserve the charm of the wonderful scenery and oasis.
How can Kashgar reconcile scientific planning for the zone with adding to the charm of the ancient city, given that it is the westernmost city in China and one that lags behind its counterparts in terms of economic growth?
“Kashgar is Kashgar,” Mr. Chen answers. “It is different from any other city. We hope its distinct characteristics can mark itself off. We shall learn from the Shenzhen people and their spirit of initiative. We shall minimize disadvantages and try to seek a breakthrough.”
Endowed with the three advantages of unique policies, regional location advantages and resources, the people in Kashgar are working to find ways to overcome the disadvantages. The natural conditions are harsh; some production resources, such as land, water, and labor in particular are insufficient; and the bases for development and industries are poor. These are the drawbacks hindering the smooth development of the zone. How will Kashgar tackle these disadvantages so as to catch up with the other parts of the country and even take the lead?
Kashgar EDZ has worked out a scientific concept aiming at cultivating a new cosmo polis on the Silk Road and at achieving leapfrog development. In testimony to the reliability of the concept, Chen Xuguang began working for the establishment of the Academy of Strategic Development of Kashgar EDZ in Beijing once he was appointed the head of KEDZ. The Academy aggregates talents in various fields at home and abroad to generate ideas for the national strategy of opening to the west and also acts as a think tank for the long term, healthy, and sustainable development of Kashgar EDZ.
Afterwards, along with a Kashgar city government delegation, Chen Xuguang visited Shenzhen, the city that provides partnership assistance to Kashgar to help it realise its great aim. It is to make Kashgar an important window for China to open to the West and contribute to the formation of its new pattern of opening up through both land and sea. Moreover, by providing consultation on how to implement special economic policies, it is to make Kashgar a new economic growth point in Xinjiang’s leapfrog development.
The Kashgar city government delegation introduced to the Shenzhen people the ten special policies issued by the State Council for Kashgar. These policies in financial support, tax exemption, power, transportation and construction of infrastructure are appealing. Other policies guarantee the smooth and sound operation of Shenzhen’s assistance in Kashgar EDZ, such as in customs and border inspection, establishment of financial institutions, preferential land policies, opening direct international air routes and port visa.
Today’s Kashgar is transforming from an important town on the Silk Road, and a marginalized market in the past, to a bridgehead to the West and a hotbed for investment. With the integration of preferential policies, Kashgar is making its first active strive for a new development model, initiating entrepreneurial management and moving forward with unusual speed. It is believed that Kashgar will become a shining pearl in west China and a great cosmopolis in the future.
BRILLIANT PROSPECT OF KHORGOS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ZONE, YILI, XINJIANG
This article was first published in Youlin-Good Neighbours, Issue No. 3
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