President Xi Jinping wants to commit for ecology: the creation of Xiong’an, a green city south of Beijing, is intended to proove the Chinese government’s willingness to make a move to clean up the country’s atmosphere – and especially its polluted capital!
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Beijing is indeed a congested capital. In addition to receiving the emanations of the many factories in the region, its car traffic – even if only 20% of inhabiters are actually using a car, the trafic already exceeds the city’s capacity and created endless traffic jams that add to the ambient pollution.
The world’s leading polluter, China is no less pioneer in green energy research and is committed to drastically reducing the pollution caused by its rapid economic development. For Xi Jinping, Xiong’an must become an area of national interest, a model using the latest technologies in the field to reduce carbon emissions.* It is estimated that 20% of Beijing inhabiters own a personal vehicle registered by the city, to understand own a car with permission to drive in Beijing. License plates are very expensive in major cities of China because they are the ones that give access to the inner traffic. Only affluent citizens can afford the purchase and the use of a personal vehicle in the downtown core.
Xiong’an City, the concept
It is not the first city model that China is planning to build. The ecological city of Dongtan was the first project of its kind, but remained in the state of construction.
The ecological city of Tianjin is a project carried in association with the Singaporean state, but it can not claim to be 100% sustainable : if the expropriation and the demolition of houses were avoided by building on an empty salt marsh area, the aquatic areas have had to be filled with soil, resulting in a significant change in the environment. In addition, the people of Tianjin leave the ecological zone every day to go to their place of work, the carbon impact generated by transport is estimated equivalent to the pollution of the city center.
Last but not least: in order to clean up the capital, the city Binhai Xinqu has recovered all polluting factories in Beijing; but this city coexists next to the ecological city, the industrial emanations thus cancel its original effect.
If ecological cities are a Chinese ideal, in fact their implementation is complex.
One of the main issues raised by Xiong’an’s ambitious plan would be whether the government will support the construction until the end. Ghost towns ** are a phenomenon in China: we find in the four corners of the country real estate projects practically abandoned, built in a hurry in anticipation of the influx of population, but abandoned in the middle of the construction due to lack of financial resources. Empty residential neighborhoods, miniature replicas of tourist towns, giant shopping centers or a ghost amusement park close to Beijing … The visual rendering of these deserted urban expanses is breathtaking.
** To learn more about ghost towns, look for Jing Jin, Chenggong to Kunming or the remnants of construction of Wonderland Hebei Park, discontinued in 1998.
Green energies, controversial in China as well
Contrary to popular belief, green energy is not necessary a renewable energy. While a green energy does not generate pollution or waste during its service, it is not renewed either. Among the green energies are solar, thermal, wind and hydroelectric.
Clean energies are very controversial, because they still produce waste during their construction phases: this is particularly the case of wind turbines and solar panels. Other “clean” energies have dramatic impacts on the environment. One thinks of the gigantic Three Gorges Dam, accused – among many other recriminations – of causing the earthquake in August 2018 in Sichuan, a seismically active central region, which destroyed almost the entire Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
Ecology, a flourishing market in China
Large-scale ecological projects are not lacking in China.The most symbolic of its kind is the launch of the Great Green Wall, a project to stop the advance of the desert in North China. It is concretized by several actions: the air drop of seeds that will be planted on land by farmers in the region. Tree shoots are successful in preventing the growth of dust. Then, reforestation of part of the Loess Plateau improves the local ecosystem and reduces the sedimentation of the Yellow River.
Organic products have their share of the market and also arouse a strong interest from the Chinese population having enough financial means to consume them. The exported organic products have conquered the Chinese market following the food scandals that have splashed information in recent years, and tarnished the reputation of domestic products. In general, products exported from abroad receive a lot of credit from the Chinese population. They are recognized for their severe quality control.
So many markets that are to study for any foreign entrepreneur.
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