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Focusing on the Priorities for Ecological Protection and Quality Growth in the Yellow River basin--The Yellow River Forum opens in Xi’ning

Date: 2021-07-23


The Yellow River is the “mother river” of the Chinese nation. Protecting the ecological environment and promoting quality growth in its basin is a monumental project bearing on the great rejuvenation and sustained development of the nation. On 21 and 22 July, the Yellow River Forum was held in the city of Xi’ning. Under theme of “ecological preservation and quality growth in the Yellow River basin”, the forum was organized by COSC’s public policy research center under the guidance of COSC and with the support of the Counsellor’s Office in Qinghai provincial government.
 
Ms. Zhang Li, Vice Governor of Qinghai Province, and Mr. Zhao Bing, Vice Chairman of COSC, delivered remarks at the forum. Mr. Zhang Hongwu, Counsellor of the State Council, and Mr. Bao Yizhi, researcher at Qinghai Institute for Culture and History and Honorary President of the Institute, delivered keynote addresses. The counsellors engaged government officials, business leaders, and academics in discussions on four topics: ecological protection, control of silt and scientific use of water resources, quality economic growth, and preservation and promotion of the Yellow River Culture. Mr. Wang Yong, deputy secretary-general of Qinghai Provincial Government and Chairman of Counsellors’ Office of Qinghai Provincial Government moderated the opening ceremony.

Ms. Zhang Li, Deputy Governor of Qinghai, delivering her remarks

In her remarks, Ms. Zhang Li reviewed Qinghai’s endeavor to implement instructions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on ecological protection and promoting quality growth in the Yellow River basin in line with the Xi Jinping Thought on the Ecology. She said Qinghai was true to its responsibilities and took serious actions as the protector of “China’s water tower”. Going forward, Qinghai will put into action General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instructions made during his inspection tour in the province and incorporate the new development concepts grounded in the new stage and pattern of development. Making the Yellow River a river of happiness for the people is Qinghai’s natural responsibility, for which the insights of the delegates will be of immense value. Taking the forum as a new starting point, Qinghai will further deepen exchange and cooperation with other parties to make new achievements in protecting the ecology and promoting the quality growth in the Yellow River basin.

Mr. Zhao Bing, Vice Chairman of COSC, delivering his remarks

Mr. Zhao Bing called on the counsellors to provide practical advice on ecological protection, silt control, intensive use of water, quality growth, and cultural preservation for the purpose of implementing the instructions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council in a way that reflects General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speeches and instructions and the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecology. He encouraged counsellors to work in a “counseling plus” model to engage the government, business, and academics to jointly provide good ideas.

Counsellor of the State Council Zhang Hongwu making the keynote address

Mr. Zhang Hongwu identified the issues central to ecological protection and growth promotion in the Yellow River basin, including scientific determination of water and silt conditions and design floods in the future, ecological rehabilitation of the upper and middle courses and treatment of the section between Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, putting in place a framework for silt control, better treatment of the river channel and beaches, enhancing Shandong’s capacity for river treatment, building the crossing of Beijing-Hangzhou Canal, and water diversion from other river systems.


Mr. Bao Yizhi pointed out that Hehuang Culture born in the region of Hehuang, i.e. the vast span of the Yellow River basin and its tributaries Huangshui River and Datong River, is the heart of the ever-vibrant Yellow River Civilization; it captures the essence of the Chinese culture characterized by multi-ethnic diversity. To preserve the Hehuang Culture, it is important to protect and develop the key symbols of the Chinese civilization in the Hehuang region with a joint working mechanism involving the nine provincial authorities in the Yellow River basin and promote integrated growth of the culture and tourism sectors.

During the first panel discussion--“strengthening ecological protection”-- moderated by Counsellor of the State Council Zhu Tong, Mr. Sun Faping, research fellow of Counsellors’ Office of Qinghai Provincial Government and Vice President of the Qinghai Academy of Social Sciences, underlined the importance to protect the ecological environment in the Yellow River basin in line with local characteristics, such as the geographical position, ecological importance, natural endowments and needs of the people. He believed that a whole-of-area ecological economy should be fostered, with stronger ecological, culture and tourism industries, support system for the ecological economy, promotion of a green lifestyle, and greater openness. Other delegates, including Mr. Zhang Baishan, counsellor of He’nan Provincial Government, Professor Ding Wenguang, counsellor of Gansu Provincial Government and professor at the College of Earth and Environmental Science of Lanzhou University, and Dr. Liao Haiqing, Vice President and fellow of the graduate institute of China Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, shared their insights on a number of topics, such as the challenges in the water environment, national parks, and a systematic approach to ecological protection and green development.

At the second panel discussion on silt control and the use of water resources moderated by Mr. Su Maolin, Counsellor of He’nan Provincial
Government, Mr. Zhou Heng, Chief Engineer at Northwest Engineering Corporation of PowerChina argued that the imbalance between water and silt was the crux of the problem in managing the Yellow River, as too much silt was a condition unique to the River. Water must be consistently conserved and an ecosystem-wide approach followed to keep silt in check which addresses the problem by making efforts in the mountains, water system, forests, farmland, lakes, grassland, and sands. The pillar projects must be continuously enhanced for better water allocation; water diversion from the south to the north should be accelerated; efforts should be made for the carbon neutrality and emission peaking goals; and water, silt, and power managed in an interconnected way. Mr. Zhou Zhiwei, director of the regional planning office of the Department of Planning and Programming of the Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. Xie Xiaoping, research fellow of Counsellors’ Office of Qinghai Provincial Government, CPC Secretary and Board Director of Huanghe Hydropower Development Co. Ltd, Dr. Guo Qingchao, Senior Engineer and Director of the Department of Sediment Research of China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, among others, discussed strategic measures in the new era in managing the Yellow River environment, the role of large water control projects, relations between water and silt, and the amount of sediment in the River in the future.

At the third panel discussion on quality development in the Yellow River basin moderated by Counsellor of the State Council Xie Boyang, Mr. Sun Junshan, deputy director of the department of development strategy and regional economy research of the Development Research Center of the State Council and deputy director of the department of policy research of the CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee, called for promoting development in ways responsive to the different natural and economic conditions in the source, gorges and floodplains. In the source area, the imperative is to develop an ecological economy; in the gorges, it is important to develop green industries and encourage green consumption, drawing on the local green resources; and, in the floodplains, the more suitable approach is to make good use of the concentration of population, industries, and production factors. Other speakers, including Qi Tongqiu, Counsellor at the Counsellors’ Office of Shandong Province, Professor Jiang Wenju of the College of Architecture and Environment of Sichuan University and Counsellor of Sichuan Provincial Government, and Mr. Li Ping, former President and research fellow of the Institute of Quantitative and Technological Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shared their views on the comparative advantages of Shandong Province, coordinated development of the environment and economy, and innovation-driven growth.

At the fourth panel on the protection, preservation and promotion of the Yellow River Culture moderated by Han Ziyong, researcher of CCICH and President of the Chinese National Academy of Arts, Mr. Wang Huacun, Secretary of the CPC leadership group of the Counsellors’ Office of Gansu Provincial Government and Chairman of the Office, noted it was important for the nine riverine provinces to join hands to manage the River and tell its story. Cooperation should focus on systematic study of the culture, joint protection mechanism, integrated development, and collaborative story-telling. The historical importance of the Yellow River Culture and its essence and relevance to our times should be fully utilized to propel efforts in ecological protection and quality development. Mr. Yanping, inspector at the department of policy and regulations of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wang Wei, Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Dr. Dang Huaixing, Vice President and professor of Shaanxi Normal University, explored the creative conversion and innovative renewal of the Yellow River Culture, archaeological discoveries, development of the Yellow River cultural resources and inheritance of intangible cultural heritage.

The forum was attended by about 100 delegates, including leading officials of the counsellors’ offices of the nine provincial governments along the Yellow River, counsellors, researchers, research fellows, scholars from relevant institutes and universities and business leaders. Among them were Ms. Xie Hongmin, deputy secretary-general of Qinghai provincial government and director of the inspection office, Mr. Wang Huacun, secretary of the CPC leadership group of the Counsellors’ Office of Gansu Provincial Government and Chairman of the Office, Ms. Zhang Liping, deputy Director-General of the Counsellor-Service Department of COSC and level-two counsel, Ms. Liu Shuqin, Vice Chairperson of the Counsellors’ Office of Qinghai Provincial Government, Mr. Wang Shunyang, member of the CPC leadership group of the Counsellors’ Office of Sichuan Provincial Government (Institute for Culture and History) and Vice Chairman of the Counsellors’ Office, and Mr. Cao Wuxiang, level-two counsel of the General Office of Shandong Provincial Government.

Counsellor of the State Council Zhu Tong (first from left) moderating panel discussion on ecological protection

Counsellor of He’nan Provincial Government Counsellor Su Maolin (first from left) moderating panel discussion on silt control and scientific use of water resources

Counsellor of the State Council Xie Boyang (first from left) moderating panel discussion on quality development



 
CCICH researcher Han Ziyong moderating panel discussion of cultural preservation

On the sidelines of the forum, delegates visited Longyangxia Hydropower Station and Gonghe industrial park for solar energy to learn about the use of water resources, hybrid power generation from water and solar, energy conservation and emission reduction of solar power stations, soil protection and enrichment, and development of leading national centers for clean energy.

Longyangxia Hydropower Station


 
Gonghe solar farm