From nothing to magnificence – Ningxia a Green Great Wall of China

By Sibusiso R Bakana

Delegates on a tour of Ningxia Province (photos by Mohammad Saiyedul Islam)

2 October 2021

From 25 to 29 September 2021, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), led by President Lin Songtian, former Ambassador of China to South Africa, together with the officials of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, hosted an expo, seminars, and tours that were attended by multinational senior executives, youth representatives and media.

At the Yuehai Convention Center, the Ningxia Foreign Affairs Office and local business shared key developmental goals, the history of the province and Ningxia’s strategic geographical position in China as it joins the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yinchuan Economic and Technological Development Zone (ETDZ). The government emphasized attracting international cooperation for further development in the areas of dairy farming, wine cultivation, education, tourism and technology.

The First China (Ningxia) International Wine Culture and Tourism Expo and World Wine Conference was held at Ningxia International hall on the 26 September which was a precursor to the celebration of World Tourism Day celebrated globally on 27 September. The theme for this year’s celebration was Tourism for Inclusive Growth, and delegates applauded Ningxia for not only concentrating on wine production, but also wine culture and vineyards as tourist attraction centers. Many of the international speakers highlighted how Ningxia wines are dominating top spots in world awards.

The province is known as Ningxia Hui because it has close to 37% of Hui (Muslim) people, which accounts for the largest population of Hui people in China. The province was transformed through mindful interventions from desert to productive land. It was President Xi who, when he was still a governor of Fujian Province, initiated province-to-province cooperation, and when he was inaugurated as President of China, he made poverty elimination in Ningxia one of his focal points.

The Yuanshi Vineyard and Jade Vineyard confirmed how Ningxia will soon be a wine stop shop in the world and position China in wine production and culture, while Ningxia Daylong Wine Co., Ltd was a robust indication of greening Ningxia with over a million trees and the largest wine farm in the Province. The Yinchuan LONGi PV Technology Co., Ltd demonstrated not only green energy participation but raw material life cycle where a PV is an end product. On the other hand, KOCEL Co., Ltd indicated how Ningxia will soon be dominating 3D printing technology in especially construction and furniture production.

To illustrate how the province rose from nothing to such magnificence, delegates and guests toured the desertification project and its museum, and witnessed firsthand that commitment with visionary leadership can make anything possible. Baijitan, which was a desert 10 years ago, now has some vegetation. It is these kinds of projects that contribute to the Green Great Wall of China.

This tour was concluded by a seminar-themed China in My Eyes: My Experience in Ningxia, where youth delegates participated by responding to the President of CPAFFC and Deputy Governor of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

The seminar was opened by deputy governor Wang Heshan, proudly outlining the development goals of the province and their commitment to economic and technology zones, clean energy and greening the province. He shared how the province will optimize spatial layout through the one river and three mountains for ecological coordination in utilizing the Yellow River as their resource. Mr. Wang said their development opportunities are inclusive of food and medicines and used the Goji berry as an example that it brightens eyes and protects the liver as per the Chinese Medical book.

Ambassador Lin Songtian delivered an energetic speech that can be summarised in five key points that are:
1. Upholding the leadership of the CPC and socialist system with Chinese characteristics to provide a fundamental guarantee
2. Adhering to a people-centered approach which constitutes the prerequisite to persuade development together
3. An effective approach to persist in the idea of tailoring measures to local conditions and targeted poverty alleviation,
4. The endogenous power of people that provides inexhaustible strength for development and
5. The concept of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration to provide the right path.
Ambassdor Lin emphasized that ‘working together we can overcome any conditions, as long we are all united and committed’.

Ambassador Gert Grobler registered his encouraging words before the youth representative's speeches and drew a line in the sand with regards to the extraordinary CPC’s infused into Chinese culture. Grobler saw Ningxia as an ecological alignment to the entire country, with rich human and environmental sustainability, where concrete steps undergone by Ningxia people are encouraging and will position the province as a global ecological region. Indeed the spirit of the Yellow river left all encouraged as the youth were on fire during their speech delivery and volunteered to be Ningxia’s ambassadors.

It is interesting how China is participating in climate change initiatives by furthering the world wonders through China 2025 Dream through the establishment of the Green Great Wall of China at Ningxia, while on the other hand further opening up to the developing world, with a win-win cooperation for a shared future.

Sibusiso R Bakana is President of the South African Students in China Association and Representative of The Diplomatic Society in China. He writes in his personal capacity.