Thanks, Bei­jing, for im­prov­ing air and traf­fic

China Daily European Weekly - - Comment - By VIC­TOR SIKONINA The au­thor is Mada­gas­car’s am­bas­sador to China. The ar­ti­cle is an ex­cerpt from his speech at a re­cep­tion for for­eign diplo­mats in Bei­jing. The views do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect those of China Daily.

Praise­wor­thy achieve­ments, car­ried out re­lent­lessly by mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, beau­tify the city and make daily life eas­ier

I am think­ing about the ad­van­tages and ben­e­fits for cities that have twinned with Bei­jing, an im­pe­rial city at the foot of the Great Wall and a city that has seen phe­nom­e­nal growth.

For in­sti­tu­tions and public ser­vices in charge of col­lec­tive in­ter­ests, the com­mon good and the well-be­ing of the city’s res­i­dents, this is a time usu­ally de­voted to look­ing back at what’s been achieved in the pass­ing year, ex­chang­ing per­spec­tives and look­ing into the fu­ture in a friendly en­vi­ron­ment.

For us who live here, we have noted with de­light the sound de­ci­sions and mea­sures adopted by the Bei­jing mu­nic­i­pal­ity to im­prove our en­vi­ron­ment and liv­ing space.

Un­der the pa­tron­age of the Fire Rooster, 2017 has proved to be a year of re­vival and great ini­tia­tives. Bei­jing has played host to a large num­ber of in­ter­na­tional events and meet­ings, mark­ing its first steps in the new era.

In May 2017, the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion saw the par­tic­i­pa­tion of 29 heads of state and gov­ern­ment, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 130 coun­tries and 70 in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions.

One of the most am­bi­tious pro­grams of our cen­tury, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive con­sol­i­dated China’s po­si­tion as the world’s sec­ond-largest eco­nomic power. More than 30 years of pros­per­ity have given China its un­prece­dented diplo­matic in­flu­ence.

An­other im­por­tant event was the 19th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, which was hailed by lead­ers of the world. In ad­di­tion to the amend­ment to the Party Con­sti­tu­tion, the 19th Party Congress set out the ori­en­ta­tion and ac­tion plan to main­tain and de­velop so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics for the new era and to com­plete the build­ing of a well-off so­ci­ety by 2020.

With re­gard to traf­fic and road safety, we have noted rig­or­ous mea­sures be­ing adopted for traf­fic man­age­ment; bar­ri­ers be­ing put up along roads to strengthen pedes­trian pro­tec­tion; and the emer­gence of shared bi­cy­cles to make road traf­fic more fluid, though in this re­gard, peo­ple’s aware­ness needs en­hanc­ing to avoid chaotic park­ing in cer­tain ar­eas and dis­tricts of Bei­jing.

Re­gard­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal ame­lio­ra­tion, ef­forts are be­ing made to re­in­force green spa­ces around Bei­jing, es­pe­cially in the Olympic For­est Park and Nir­vana Re­sort; de­velop ur­ban agri­cul­ture with the lat­est tech­nolo­gies; and clean the air.

Air qual­ity has greatly im­proved as a re­sult of a sharp de­cline in fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter and the num­ber of sand­storms. This win­ter, the Bei­jing mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment has hon­ored its pledge by ap­ply­ing dif­fer­ent mea­sures to fur­ther im­prove air qual­ity.

Bei­jing will con­tinue to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment, and will host the 2019 World Hor­ti­cul­tural Ex­po­si­tion. Re­fer­ring to Bei­jing’s suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ences, the diplo­matic corps here would like to re­spond pos­i­tively to the in­vi­ta­tion by the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee.

True to its im­age as a ma­jor metropoli­tan city, Bei­jing is build­ing a new in­ter­na­tional air­port in Dax­ing dis­trict, sched­uled to be op­er­a­tional in 2019. This show­cases Bei­jing’s tourist ap­peal and de­ter­mi­na­tion to play its lead­er­ship role in the new in­ter­na­tional con­text.

The mem­bers of the diplo­matic corps and their fam­i­lies, as res­i­dents of Bei­jing, are de­lighted by all these pos­i­tive and praise­wor­thy achieve­ments, car­ried out re­lent­lessly by the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment team to make our daily life eas­ier and to beau­tify this city that we cher­ish even more.

MA XUEJING / CHINA DAILY

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