Harbin invests to raise quality of life locally
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.
Street scene in downtown Harbin.
Zhang Lixin, head of the publicity department of the Harbin city Party committee