Sino-French Wuhan Eco­log­i­cal Demon­stra­tion City


Special Focus - - Contents - ——中法武汉生态示范城印象Liu Dongli, Wang Yi'an刘冬莉 王易安

In an­cient China, there was a story about two dear friends that has been passed down through gen­er­a­tions. Dur­ing the Spring and Au­tumn Pe­riod ( 770- 476 BC), there was a man called Yu Boya who was a mas­ter of mu­si­cal tem­per­a­ment and highly skilled in play­ing the guqin ( Chi­nese zither). Though be­ing a well- known guqin player at that time, he be­lieved that no one could truly un­der­stand his mu­sic, so he was up­set about it.

One Mid- Au­tumn Fes­ti­val night, Yu Boya was boat­ing alone on the Hanyang River for sight­see­ing. With the gen­tle breeze and bright moon as his only com­pan­ions, myr­i­ads of thoughts crowded into his mind, and he couldn’t help but play the guqin that he was car­ry­ing. The melo­di­ous mu­sic be­came more and more beau­ti­ful when it sud­denly wowed a man on the bank. The man was a wood­cut­ter who hap­pened to pass by. When the rhythm rose to a crescendo, the man said, “What a won­der­ful melody! It sounds as grand as a high moun­tain,” and when the rhythm be­came smooth and lively, the man said, “How de­light­ful! Now it sounds like an end­lessly flow­ing river.”

Yu Boya was ex­tremely thrilled, as he al­ways ex­pressed his emo­tions through his mu­sic, yet no

one could un­der­stand it. Now, in the mid­dle of nowhere, he fi­nally met the friend that he had been seek­ing for ages.

The wood­cut­ter was named Zhong Ziqi. The two hit it off and de­cided to be­come sworn brothers, and they promised to meet each other at the same place again the next Mid-Au­tumn day.

A year went by and Yu Boya came to Hanyang River as sched­uled, but he saw no sign of Zhong Ziqi at all. Af­ter in­quir­ing with some lo­cal peo­ple, he learned that Zhong Ziqi had died of ill­ness. Be­fore dy­ing, Ziqi left a note that he wanted to be buried at the river­bank so that he could ap­pre­ci­ate Boya’s mu­sic again on the next Mid-Au­tumn day.

Hear­ing this, Yu Boya be­came deeply grieved. He came to Zhong Ziqi’s tomb, and pa­thet­i­cally played the tune High Moun­tains and Flow­ing Rivers that he com­posed. When the tune ended, he let out a big sigh and smashed his fa­vorite guqin on the slate. Boya said woe­fully, “The only one who truly un­der­stands my mu­sic has died, and to whom else can I play the guqin in the fu­ture?”

Many peo­ple in later gen­er­a­tions were greatly touched by the sin­cere friend­ship be­tween Boya and Ziqi. Wuhan City is the birth­place of the epic story. To­day, Zhong Ziqi’s tomb is still lo­cated on the Ma’an Moun­tain of Caid­ian District in Wuhan. Be­cause of the tale of “Boya and Ziqi,” the cul­ture of the beau­ti­ful city has deep­ened af­ter years of ac­cu­mu­la­tion.

Paris and Wuhan are only 4 km away!

How far is it from Wuhan, the city of “bo­som friends,” to Paris, the city of ro­mance? Ac­cord­ing to Wuhan na­tives, it is 4 kilo­me­ters!

That is true. In Wuhan City, over the Han River, there is a Sino- French Friend­ship Bridge stretch­ing for 4.391 kilo­me­ters, which con­nects the Sino-French Wuhan Eco­log­i­cal Demon­stra­tion City at Caid­ian District and the de­par­ture sta­tion of China- Europe Train that goes di­rectly to France.

It has been over one and a half cen­turies since the eco­nomic ex­changes be­tween Wuhan and France were es­tab­lished— over that time, peo­ple from the two places have de­vel­oped a pro­found friend­ship. At the High- level Fo­rum of

In­ter­na­tional Bo­som Friends Cul­ture held on the 28th of Septem­ber 2017, Yu Xi—the se­nior re­porter and As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor of Wuhan For­eign Cul­tural Ex­change As­so­ci­a­tion—told some sto­ries that mark the friend­ship be­tween the Chi­nese and the French.

The first ever per­son to open the door to China’s mod­ern art of gar­ments was Pierre Cardin, a well­known French fash­ion de­signer.

The Na­tional Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts, one of the land­mark build­ings in con­tem­po­rary China was de­signed by Paul An­drew, a mas­ter ar­chi­tect from France.

Known as the Folk Am­bas­sador who avidly pro­motes friend­ship be­tween China and France, Alain La­bat has ex­cel­lent or­ga­ni­za­tional skills and has helped hun­dreds of French sec­ondary schools to con­nect with their coun­ter­parts in China so that they can build in­ter- school co­op­er­a­tion, and each year, those part­ner schools would send teach­ers and stu­dents to learn from each other. The Wuhan For­eign Lan­guage School and Ly­cée Mon­taigne Bordeaux are among those that have be­come sis­ter schools.

So­phie Tedeschi, a young fe­male artist from Paris, has paid mul­ti­ple vis­its to Wuhan and has also lec­tured and held her art ex­hi­bi­tions at lo­cal col­leges, in­clud­ing the Hubei In­sti­tute of Fine Arts, Jiang­han Uni­ver­sity, the China Uni­ver­sity of Geo­sciences, and the Hubei Uni­ver­sity for Na­tion­al­i­ties. Since 2011, lo­cal news­pa­pers have pub­lished her Chi­nese zo­diac paint­ings on their New Year is­sue six years in a row. Her ex­cel­lent art works com­bine Chi­nese and West­ern el­e­ments, and have been fa­vored by many Chi­nese read­ers. Some peo­ple even com­ment, “If I read news­pa­pers dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val, I would be cu­ri­ous to check out the new zo­diac paint­ing by that French artist.”

What’s more, the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic ex­changes of the two coun­tries have also be­come

in­creas­ingly fre­quent.

On the 26th of March, 2014, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­pin vis­ited France. Wit­nessed by the lead­ers of the two coun­tries, govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China and France signed an MOU on build­ing the Sino- French Wuhan Eco­log­i­cal Demon­stra­tion City in Wuhan. Later, the con­struc­tion of a post- in­dus­trial ur­ban area was kicked off in the Caid­ian District of Wuhan City, which be­came a sus­tain­able eco- friendly demon­stra­tion city for China and France.

On the 23rd of Fe­bru­ary 2017, Bernard Cazeneuve, Prime Min­is­ter of France and Wang Xiaodong, the gover­nor of Hubei Prov­ince, planted a gingko to­gether at Houguan Lake Na­tional Wet­land Park, which sym­bol­ized “a long last­ing friend­ship marked by the co- con­structed eco- city.”

With more and more ex­changes at all lev­els be­tween China and France, more peo­ple start to find their friends as in the tale of “Boya and Ziqi.”

When Chi­nese Op­por­tu­nity meets with French Ro­mance

In the home­town of “Boya and Ziqi,” the sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, and cul­ture of China and France find a per­fect meet­ing point.

At the foot of Ma’an Moun­tain, the land­scape, city, and peo­ple are ready to em­brace each other.

At the Sino- French Eco- city, ro­man­tic in­ter­ac­tions are hap­pen­ing ev­ery now and then.

“With the open­ing of di­rect flights from Wuhan to Paris, the bond be­tween the two cities has be­come deeper and deeper. To­day, lots of Chi­nese faces from Wuhan can be seen in the streets of Paris, and like­wise, many French peo­ple visit Wuhan to en­joy its cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal land­scapes and eco- friendly en­vi­ron­ment.” The Am­bas­sador of France to China, Jean- Mau­rice Ripert, said on the Open­ing Cer­e­mony of the 4th Cul­tural and Tourism Fes­ti­val of the Si­noFrench Wuhan Eco­log­i­cal Demon­stra­tion City on

Septem­ber 26th.

Al­though this was his first visit to Wuhan and the Sino-French Wuhan Eco­log­i­cal Demon­stra­tion City since tak­ing of­fice, Mr. Ripert led a del­e­ga­tion of 40 French com­pa­nies for in­spec­tion. It is thus clear that French com­pa­nies have re­garded Wuhan as an im­por­tant city in China to de­velop their busi­ness.

They cer­tainly had a re­ward­ing trip. In or­der to op­ti­mize the in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment for French com­pa­nies, the Sino- French Eco­log­i­cal City has been a pioneer in China to pro­mul­gate the “16 Pref­er­en­tial Poli­cies for French Com­pa­nies,” which in­clude the set­ting up of an in­dus­trial guid­ance fund of RMB 200 mil­lion yuan, a loan sub­sidy of up to 1 mil­lion yuan for each French firm, an in­cen­tive of up to 45 mil­lion yuan for French en­ter­prise head­quar­ters, and an in­cen­tive of 15 mil­lion yuan for the R&D cen­ters es­tab­lished by French firms on the For­tune 500 list or in­dus­try lead­ers.

Fa­vor­able con­di­tions will surely at­tract busi­ness and in­vest­ment. On Septem­ber 27th, themed by “Green, Open, and In­no­va­tive— Shar­ing New Chances in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” the 4th Sino- French Ur­ban Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum was the site of sign­ing cer­e­monies for 21 in­vest­ment projects, in­clud­ing 10 French- in­vested projects in the fields of al­ter­na­tive power, with a to­tal sum of in­vest­ment reach­ing 126.2 bil­lion yuan.

Will it dam­age the ecosys­tem or drain up re­sources, as tra­di­tional ur­ban de­vel­op­ment does, to vig­or­ously de­velop econ­omy? Will it im­pose heav­ier bur­dens on the Earth, en­vi­ron­ment, or cities? As for the an­swers, ac­cord­ing to ur­ban plan­ners, the plan­ning of eco- cities is the role model for ur­ban sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. The Sino-French Eco-city is never meant to cut off from in­dus­trial chains, but to di­vert its de­vel­op­ment track and es­tab­lish an eco- friendly in­dus­trial clus­ter, so as to make other en­ter­prises re­al­ize that eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion is the gen­eral trend.

There­fore, at the ini­tial plan­ning stage of the Sino-French Eco-city, ur­ban plan­ners have adopted the con­cept of “counter- plan­ning.” Ac­cord­ing to

them, “Ur­ban de­sign should never go against the na­ture of a land­scape. Over­cor­rec­tion can never hap­pen. The build­ings, like a stone rolling down a hill, should be ac­ci­den­tally and har­mo­niously ‘ dropped’ at the foot of the hill or on the river­side.” In or­der to pre­serve the orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance of the land­scape, all the ur­ban build­ing fa­cil­i­ties should gen­tly blend with en­vi­ron­ment.

Eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion should not only be the guid­ing prin­ci­ple for ur­ban plan­ning, but also for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. In terms of in­dus­trial forms, the 21 signed projects are ei­ther smart in­dus­tries or as­set- light ones.

Zheng Yuan­bao, Chair­man of the Peo­ple’s Elec­tronic Ap­pli­ance Group, was ap­pointed as the Busi­ness At­trac­tion Am­bas­sador of the Si­noFrench Eco- city and signed an in­vest­ment agree­ment on Septem­ber 27th. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Zheng, the nat­u­ral re­sources in the eco- city are never meant to be con­sumed, as they are the breed­ing bed on which in­no­va­tive or in­tel­li­gent en­ter­prises sur­vive. If an en­ter­prise wants to ex­pand its busi­ness to the world, it must aban­don the as­setheavy ap­proach that con­sumes re­sources and tran­si­tion to high value- added and as­set- light projects.

Mr. Zheng’s idea has gained recog­ni­tion from many en­trepreneurs. Quite a few en­ter­prises on For­tune 500 list com­ing to the Eco- city have a com­mon un­der­stand­ing: it is a lu­cra­tive busi­ness to “dis­cuss eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion” nowa­days. …

As a Wuhan na­tive, it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to tell a great Chi­nese story, pro­mote the cul­ture of friend­ship, con­stantly en­hance the global in­flu­ence of Hubei, and show the world an open Caid­ian, a friendly Hubei and an in­clu­sive China. As the Sino- French Eco­log­i­cal Demon­stra­tion City is be­ing con­structed step by step, Caid­ian District or even Hubei Prov­ince has gained more and more re­gional in­flu­ence in the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween China and France.

In the past, there was the epic tale of Boya and Ziqi, and to­day, when the re­form and open­ing up is tak­ing place, Caid­ian of Hubei will con­tinue to write a new chap­ter in the Sino- French friend­ship, and make it the mod­ern ver­sion of Boya and Ziqi.

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