How does ecological progress become a national priority for China?
Back in the 1990s, Anji County in east China's Zhejiang Province was drowned in roars from its new quarries day and night. Villagers operated cement plants, and the people grew rich but the village was covered with dirt.
Between 2003 and 2005, amid a major environmental protection campaign, Anji County closed down three mining companies and one cement factory in Yucun Village, cutting its annual GDP from over three million yuan (around $400,000) to about 200,000 yuan, a drop of over 90 percent.
Residents in Anji had to find replacements for their economic losses. On his visit to the village, Xi Jinping, then secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhejiang Provincial Committee, proposed pursuing green development. He remarked, "Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets." This remark constitutes a signature statement of his theory of ecological progress.
From then on, local people began making money in an eco-friendly way from the area's rich bamboo resources. Today, the village stands out as a rural scenic attraction and has a per capita income of 50,000 yuan.
Ascent to national priority
As a national leader, Xi has prioritized ecological development as an integral part of China's development. Harmony between humanity and nature is viewed as an intrinsic part of Chinese modernization.
Under the guidance of Xi's concept of eco-civilization, China has invested more than 100 billion yuan over the past decade in supporting the construction of environmental infrastructure. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), the central government allocated nearly 200 billion yuan in ecological protection subsidies annually. The country has seen bluer skies, greener mountains, clearer waters and better environment.
Global green contribution
China's endeavor of green and low-carbon development has made tangible contributions in addressing global climate change.
China has created the world's largest planted forests. In 2022 alone, Chinese people planted a total of 3.83 million hectares of new forests, official data showed.
The forest coverage rate doubled from 12 percent in the early 1980s to over 24 percent last year.
A 2019 finding published in Nature Sustainability showed that at least 25 percent of foliage expansion since the early 2000s globally came from China, based on data from NASA satellites.
The country is also now the world's largest producer of clean energy equipment. In 2021, the output value of the energy conservation and environmental protection industry exceeded $1.13 trillion.
Values of primary-level experience
Besides ecological progress, China has developed several other major development concepts based on the realities of the country.
Xi formed many of his governing concepts as the national leader when he worked in local governments.
To run a large country like China and maintain national stability and ensure development, a leader must be very experienced in governing with exceptional leadership capability.
China's leaders usually accumulate experience from working in different places and in various positions, to improve their ability to analyze and solve complex problems, and demonstrate their leadership skills through governance achievements.
Against this backdrop, CGTN has produced multilingual podcast series "Stories of Xi Jinping," which will be launched globally on the sidelines of this year's Frankfurt Book Fair.
This 12-episode podcast series tells stories about how Xi Jinping, with China's unique mode of employing and appointing people according to their merits, advanced step by step from a village official to a state leader after gaining rich experience from working in local positions. This experience also provided a solid foundation for him in formulating his holistic set of theories and guidelines in governance.