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Guangxi: A place of great wonder

By Hujjatullah Zia ( )

Updated: 2018-12-28

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China's reform and opening-up within the last four decades have brought about remarkable achievements in terms of economic development, technology and trade. Modern China is not comparable with how the country was only two decades earlier. The Chinese live a happy and prosperous life without concern for economic constraints or unemployment.

In my recent trip to China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, I was amazed at the charm and attraction oozing from tourist destinations, national parks and time-honored cities as well as large industries and enterprises. Guangxi plays a significant role in the economic exchanges between China and Southeast Asia, and it is the venue for the China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expo. Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, located in southern China, has highly fascinating cities. I visited four and have found them all magnetic, as each plays a key role in alleviating poverty.

Guangxi's Yulin is a pilot city for national reform and development and one of the nine pilot zones for cross-strait agricultural cooperation. An important land route to ASEAN countries, Yulin is a tourist city home to over 120 famous scenic spots. There are many significant enterprises in this city, including Yuchai Machinery Group, a company established in 1951 that I had the opportunity to visit. It has 34.4 million yuan ($5.2 million) in total assets, with an entire staff of nearly 20,000. The company aims to deepen domestic and international joint ventures and cooperation, optimize industrial structure, and promote safe, healthy and sustainable development. It also seeks to fulfill the vision of “building a brand trusted by customers and a world-class enterprise” and will certainly have a great role in city's economic progress.

The second city the Asian journalists visited was Guigang, also called the Lotus City for its abundant lotus flowers. Besides being a tourist destination, Guigang is a historical, cultural and religious center in Guangxi. Above all, it is an inland port city with two main streams of the Xijiang River converging here: the Maritime Silk Road and the strategic point of the Pearl River– Xijiang River Economic Belt. Guigang is building the second largest automobile production base in Guangxi and has introduced new energy vehicle and electric vehicle industries.

We also had the honor of visiting Qinzhou, a city located at the heart of the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, close to the hinterlands of Southwest China and Southeast Asia across the sea. It is the birthplace of Chinese Nixing pottery, which has won more than 500 awards in international and national exhibitions in the past 100 years for its long history and highly artistic quality. The city is also the hometown of Chinese national heroes Liu Yongfu and Feng Zicai and one of the ports of departure on the ancient Maritime Silk Road. Qinzhou is a nexus point on the Belt and Road in Guangxi -- a gateway for industrial cooperation with ASEAN, a regional hub for international shipping and logistics, and a strategic pivot on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It has recently undergone fast economic and social development by implementing the strategy to "build a major port, revitalize industries, develop a new city, strengthen science and education and improve people’s livelihoods". With the most national platforms and policy resources for China's opening-up, this city is now at the forefront of China’s opening-up endeavors. China seeks to build Qinzhou as a gateway port to connect the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a new regional frontier for international cooperation and a modern eco-friendly coastal city.

Last, but not least, we visited Beihai. The city has fresh air, a pleasant climate and beautiful scenery, and is a leader among excellent tourist cities in China. Beihai Silver Beach is considered one of the best beaches in the world, while Beihai itself is a famous coastal tourist city and one of the earliest ports on the ancient Maritime Silk Road. The city has a wealth of resources, including its famous southern pearls, which are considered as beautiful as the saltwater pearls in Japan and Italy. Currently, Beihai is actively involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and seeking to achieve the goal of building itself into an international and innovative city.

Guangxi is an example of the development happening in provinces, cities and villages across China, where the establishment of large enterprises and promotion of tourist destinations under the framework of reform and opening-up is helping to alleviate poverty and build a moderately prosperous society. These developments ultimately can serve as models for other countries.

The author is an Afghan journalist and freelance writer based in Beijing.