A greener nation: 28 cities recognized as 'forest cities'
By Xia Ruixue, Meng Mingwei

28 new Chinese cities have been named "national forest cities" by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

The announcement came Friday at the 2019 Forest City Construction Forum in Xinyang, Henan Province.

It is China's highest honor in city ecological construction. In the past 15 years, 194 cities have been named forest cities.

"The assessment is very strict. The reason we do this every year is that we really want to make our country greener. We hope that whenever people open their windows, they see green," said Ma Dayi from National Forestry and Grassland Administration. 

Li Bin, vice chairman of National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference said: "Many big cities are like concrete forests. How to put more green into them is a big question, and we cannot forget the countryside either. We need to make them more beautiful as well."

China is home to the world's largest man-made forest, but as a country, experts say it still lacks forests and vegetation, especially in the big cities.

This April, President Xi Jinping called for more efforts to improve people's living environments, and develop a greener economy, plans that will require long term goals for the nation's forest management and efforts to make cities more livable for residents.

Experts say this will make people more comfortable and bring them closer to nature.