Harbin in­vests to raise qual­ity of life lo­cally

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By TIAN XUE­FEI in Harbin tianx­ue­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Au­thor­i­ties in Harbin, cap­i­tal of Hei­longjiang prov­ince, have set their sights on gain­ing recog­ni­tion as a national civ­i­lized city, and they are call­ing on all lo­cal peo­ple to join in the ef­forts.

And im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life is a top pri­or­ity of the ini­tia­tive, lo­cal govern­ment of­fi­cials said.

Last year, the city govern­ment in­vested 23.8 bil­lion yuan ($3.89 bil­lion) in 70 projects that ben­e­fit or­di­nary peo­ple.

Th­ese in­clude en­hance­ments to the city’s so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem as well as a grow­ing num­ber of af­ford­able hous­ing projects that are un­der con­struc­tion. The projects also bring the added ben­e­fit of cre­at­ing more jobs for lo­cals.

Au­thor­i­ties have adopted sci­en­tific de­vel­op­ment as a guide­line for con­struc­tion and man­age­ment, of­fi­cials said.

Their ef­forts have paid off. Harbin has joined the ranks of China’s ad­vanced cities and has al­ready been nom­i­nated for recog­ni­tion as a national civ­i­lized city sev­eral times.

It placed third in 2012 on an an­nual list of the nom­i­nee cities ranked ac­cord­ing to ur­ban civ­i­liza­tion in­dexes, such as pub­lic or­der, en­vi­ron­ment and char­ity.

Harbin’s cit­i­zens said they have wit­nessed pro­found changes tak­ing place in the city and are al­ready en­joy­ing the fruits of the ini­tia­tive.

In such an up­lift­ing en­vi­ron­ment, it is no sur­prise many or­di­nary res­i­dents have made head­lines with heroic deeds in re­cent years.

Among them is Xie Shang­wei, who saved a young boy af­ter the child fell from a build­ing. There was also Yang Hui, who res­cued two drown­ing men and Su Ze­jun, a ure­mia pa­tient, who also saved two young­sters from drown­ing.

Chang Wei­hao jumped into a river three times to save drown­ing vic­tims while Gao Tiecheng, ran into a fire three times to pre­vent a gas ex­plo­sion.

Liu Xiaozhong spent 31 years teach­ing at a moun­tain­ous vil­lage, and Zhang Bao­jin, Party chief of Yuan­bao vil­lage, led his fel­low vil­lagers to get rid of poverty.

The se­ries of life-af­firm­ing events have gained wide­spread at­ten­tion and struck a chord with all of the so­ci­ety.

Their deeds demon­strate the val­ues of self-sac­ri­fice, re­spect for life and op­ti­mism, all of which are char­ac­ter­is­tics of the city, lo­cal me­dia re­ports.

“We can call it the ‘Harbin ethos’, which is based on the pub­lic level and re­flects the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of ev­ery­one for oth­ers and the so­ci­ety,” said Zhang Lixin, head of the pub­lic­ity depart­ment of the city Party com­mit­tee.

The so-called Harbin ethos is the sym­bol of the city’s civ­i­liza­tion progress and also the es­sen­tial con­di­tion for so­cial de­vel­op­ment, Zhang said.

“It is not by chance that our city has so many heroes,” Zhang said, not­ing that it is partly due to the his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage of Harbin and also re­sults from con­stant ed­u­ca­tion and pop­u­lar­iza­tion of the so­cial­ist core value sys­tem.

“So­ci­ety should also care for heroes to en­sure kind peo­ple are re­spected and rewarded. We need a sound so­cial en­vi­ron­ment for healthy pub­lic opin­ions,” she added.

“Civ­i­liza­tion is pow­er­ful,” she said. “Be­ing a national civ­i­lized city will give Harbin a valu­able in­tan­gi­ble as­set and help to pro­mote its im­age.” Dong Wenya con­trib­uted to this story.

DONG WENYA / FOR CHINA DAILY

Street scene in down­town Harbin.

Zhang Lixin, head of the pub­lic­ity depart­ment of the Harbin city Party com­mit­tee

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