By PLA Daily staff reporters Ou Can, Chen Dianhong, and Zhang Fang
Editor's Note: This is one of the heartwarming stories from China in this new era. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Xi Jinping, who cares for the ordinary people, has visited poverty-stricken regions many times to bring solutions to the challenges and obstacles hindering poverty reduction. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has considered its participation in poverty alleviation a concrete move to translate its loyalty to the Party into practical actions. With a strong sense of mission, the whole army is fulfilling its commitment to share the Party’s burdens and strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the benefit of the people.
[Playback] In August 2019, during his visit to Gansu Province, President Xi Jinping conducted in-depth surveys in local grasslands, forest farms, and ecological resettlement areas and listened to local officials’ reports on the ecological restoration and protection of the Qilian Mountains. President Xi pointed out that as China enters a stage of high-quality development, the role of ecological environment is becoming more and more important. As long as the country adheres to the new development philosophy , lucid waters and lush mountains will turn into invaluable assets.
Sitting on the northern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the magnificent Qilian Mountains span across Gansu and Qinghai provinces and overlook the fertile Hexi Corridor. The mountain range boasts a complete ecosystem with glaciers, snow-capped mountains, forests, meadows, wetlands and other landforms, forming an irreplaceable ecological security shelter in northwestern China.
In August 2019, President Xi stressed that we must properly deal with the relationship between production, life and ecology, take active actions to develop eco-friendly, sustainable industries and protect rare grassland resources, making lucid waters and lush hills in the Qilian Mountains benefit people of various ethnic groups on the grassland forever.
In 2015, a unit attached to the PLA Xining Joint Logistics Support Center launched a pairing assistance program to help Xiashiba Village in Dachaigou Town, Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County, Wuwei City in Gansu province, get out of poverty. Through promoting ecological improvement and poverty alleviation together, the troops have helped local people walk onto a path of green development that gives priority to ecological progress, not only making mountains green and rivers clear but also increasing the villagers’ incomes.
Lucid Waters and Lush Mountains Are Invaluable Assets
The panoramic view of Xiashiba Village in Dachaigou Town, Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County, Wuwei City in northwest China's Gansu Province (PLA Daily/Zhang Dongpan)
The Qilian Mountains feature high peaks and vast wilderness.The mountain range blocks the expansion of deserts, sheltering the ecological security of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as “the Earth’s Third Pole,” and the Source of Three Rivers ( the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers) area known as the “Water Tower of China.”
In the past, however, excessive and indiscriminate development and the impacts of human activities had threatened the fragile ecosystem in the region, sounding an alarm about ecological security.
The CPC Central Committee attaches great importance to the ecological damage in some parts of the Qilian Mountains region. Before he inspected the ecological restoration and protection of the Qilian Mountains in August 2019, President Xi had made instructions for several times, calling for timely rectification and through years of efforts, the ecosystem of the Qilian Mountains has been effectively restored.
In fact, as early as August 2005, when visiting Yucun Village in Anji County, east China's Zhejiang Province, Xi Jinping, the then secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, had already put forward the concept that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.” This concept pinpoints the dialectical unity between poverty alleviation and ecological progress.
“President Xi has always attached great importance to the coordinated development of ecological protection and economic growth. Following the concept of green development, we formulated the pairing assistance measures characterized by returning farmland to grassland and forest and planting eco-friendly cash crops,” said an officer from the Xining Joint Logistics Support Center, who has witnessed the ecological restoration of the Qilian Mountains. Over the years, they have been committed to guiding villagers to protect the local ecosystem while offering pairing poverty alleviation assistance to Xiashiba Village.
Three years ago, mines and coal dressing facilities around Xiashiba Village were removed one after another, and a poverty alleviation working team from the PLA Xining Joint Logistics Support Center came to the village, helping villagers develop the green economy instead of mining.
Now when the reporters came to village, they were pleased to see farms full of cattle and sheep, mountains carpeted with lush vegetation, and fields growing with cash crops and vegetables like snap pea and asparagus lettuce. With the help of the PLA troops, more and more villagers have benefited from the green economy. Practice has proven that the economy shouldn’t develop at the cost of ecology. The reporters could feel the tremendous changes in local villagers’ attitude toward ecological protection. The concept that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets” has become a consensus deeply rooted in their minds.