CHINA / POLITICS
From a Mining Town to a Tourist Destination - The Cradle of the "Two Mountains" Theory
Published: Sep 17, 2021 01:05 PM
Yucun Village in Anji County, Zhejiang Province is known for its lucid waters and lush mountains. At the entrance of a local park stands a towering monument bearing the inscription "blue waters and green mountains are indeed gold and silver mountains." This is where the "two mountains" theory was first put forward. As the cradle of the theory, Anji County is a fine example of ecological transformation, attracting many tourists from home and abroad, and among them a very special visitor, Abdelaziz Ahmed Abdelaziz Mahmoud Sallam, or Wang Mulin in Chinese, a social media influencer from Egypt. He tried out working as a waiter at Chunlin Shanzhuang farm stay, the first agritainment resort in the village, and witnessed how the "two mountains" theory is successfully practiced there.

Wang Mulin in Yucun Village

Wang Mulin in Yucun Village

Ever since he first set foot on China, Wang Mulin has been amazed by China's majestic landscape and scenery. Through his camera's lens, Wang recorded Yucun Village's history, customs, cuisine, landscape, and culture. He expressed his passion for the place in fluent Mandarin, sharing the everyday life of locals, making vivid presentations of the Chinese cuisine served and even trying out waiting tables at the farm stay. His videos stir up tremendous interest among viewers to see the picturesque landscape for themselves, experience the pastoral lifestyle and applaud Wang's deep friendship with China.

It is hard to imagine that the green mountains, clear rivers and blue skies of this beautiful village were seriously damaged and shrouded by smog and dust 20 years ago. In the 1990s, quarrying became a thriving business in the area. The mountains rich in high quality limestone were regarded as mountains of gold. In this county of less than 2,000 square kilometers, there were over 200 mining companies, or one in less than every eight square kilometers. Villagers got rich by selling mineral products but found themselves in a poor ecological environment. Mountains were hollowed, waters tainted, and the air fouled. The degrading environment and frequent mining accidents alarmed the villagers and they realized that an economic transformation was a must. But how should the polluting factories be closed down? How to protect the ecology and secure people's income? These questions brought the village into hesitation.

On August 15, 2005, Xi Jinping, then Secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the CPC, visited Yucun Village in transformation. When told that the village was closing down the mines to restore the environment, Xi encouraged villagers: "The closedown is a wise decision. In the past, we said we wanted both green mountains and gold mountains. However, green maintains are themselves gold mountains." Since then, the "two mountains" theory has charted the course of green development.

The “two mountains” theory monument

The “two mountains” theory monument


 

Guided by the theory, the villagers made the decision to conserve local environment and adjust their development planning. Leveraging its abundant bamboo resources, the village began to develop leisure eco-tourism including agritainment, homestay and rafting. The transformation has not only enabled high-quality economic development but also enhanced ecological conservation, industrial development and people's well-being. Yucun became a nationwide model in the endeavor to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and beautiful countryside. This once seriously polluted village has become a hub of culture and tourism industries, known for the park commemorating the birth of the theory, a mine-remolded park, countryside leisure resorts, a traditional Chinese medicine botanic garden, and a bamboo garden with jogging trails. Local industries have shifted from agriculture to mining and cement processing to bamboo products manufacturing, and to culture and tourism. More ways have been explored to turn green mountains into gold mountains, boost the village's economy and raise people's income.

Originating from this village, the "two mountains" theory has had a far-reaching and profound impact on China's ecological conservation. Sixteen years on, the phrase "blue waters and green mountains are indeed gold and silver mountains" has become an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It is widely recognized among the Chinese people and has guided efforts for green development in every part of the country. Facing the new circumstances, tasks and requirements, it is the call of our times to follow the new philosophy of "accelerating reform of the system for developing an ecological civilization and building a beautiful China," and to advance ecological conservation, explore new paths to green development and earnestly implement the "two mountains" theory. This will open a new chapter of green development in the new era.

Recent years have witnessed Yucun Village's transformation from a mining town to a tourist destination. The village has witnessed the birth and development of the "two mountains" theory. Today, the village attracts numerous tourists and impresses friends from around the world like Wang Mulin. It sets a fine example of implementing the "two mountains" theory and achieving economic development while protecting the environment.


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