China has entered a stage of high-quality development, and the southern province of Hainan is spearheading the country’s efforts to balance environmental protection and development.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been in Hainan since Sunday, placing ecological conservation, rural revitalization and food security high on the agenda during his inspection.
National park system
When inspecting a section of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park on Monday in the city of Wuzhishan, President Xi stressed the importance of boosting national park development in Hainan.
He also highlighted the need to fully understand the strategic significance of Hainan’s national park development to the country, and urged continuous and solid efforts in this regard.
Following the principle of “ecological protection first,” China in 2017 unveiled the overall plan for establishing its new national park system in an effort to promote human-nature harmony, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
Last year, the Chinese leader announced the official designation of the country’s first group of national parks when delivering a keynote speech via video link at the leaders’ summit of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15). The Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park is one of them.
The national park spans nine cities and counties, covering a total area of over 4,000 square km. It is home to the most concentrated and well-preserved tropical rainforests in China and the only habitat for Hainan gibbons, the world’s rarest primates.
Unlike ordinary national parks, the designated national parks are part of the country’s “red line” strategy for ecological conservation and subject to the strictest possible protection measures.
With the national park system taking shape in the world’s most populous country, China has taken a solid step toward a future where all beings can live in harmony and flourish through a system of protected areas with national parks as the mainstay.
Rural revitalization in full swing
During his inspection tours across the country, the Chinese president always stopped to chat with rural families. On Monday, he walked into the homes of local ethnic Li people in Maona, a village in the city of Wuzhishan, and had cordial exchanges with local officials and villagers.
In Maona’s public square, the locals extended a warm welcome to Xi.
“We have attained a moderately prosperous society in all respects and are marching toward modernization and promoting common prosperity,” Xi said, urging solid efforts to consolidate poverty alleviation achievements and align them with the full advancement of rural revitalization.
China is continuing efforts for rural development, with the Report on the Work of the Government released in March emphasizing boosting agricultural production and promoting all-around rural revitalization in 2022.
Xi also called on Party officials to make “every possible effort” to ensure that people can live happy lives, saying Party officials should not harbor any selfish interests, and they should devote themselves to the improvement of people’s lives.
“What the Communist Party of China cares about is how to make sure the lives of Chinese people of all ethnic groups are getting better every day.”
China’s food security can only be safeguarded when seed resources are firmly held in our own hands, President Xi said while inspecting the city of Sanya on Sunday, calling for working toward food self-sufficiency and advancing the country’s seed sector.
“To ensure that China’s seed resources are self-supporting and under better control, self-reliance must be achieved in seed technology,” he said.
However, Xi acknowledged that the process would take time. “It takes 10 years to sharpen a sword,” said Xi, quoting a Chinese saying.
Highlighting the strategic significance of the related work, he called for carrying forward the spirit of scientists and researchers of the older generations, including Yuan Longping (1930-2021), who was known for developing the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s and staving off hunger for millions.
In the newly-unveiled “No. 1 Central Document,” the first policy statement released by China’s central authorities this year, the country has outlined seed industry development as one of its policy priorities, with specific moves such as implementing an action plan on the seed industry, promoting germplasm collection and enhancing intellectual property protection in the sector.