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Monday, December 4, 2023

Liuzhou: From Industrial City to Must-Visit Destination

ChinaLiuzhou: From Industrial City to Must-Visit Destination

Zhou Mengyuan, a Beijing resident, made the decision to spend her annual leave in Liuzhou, a southern Chinese city, after watching a short video that went viral on the internet. The video showcased the city’s stunning landscapes and mouth-watering street food, attracting a significant number of foodies and travel enthusiasts.

It is difficult to imagine such scenes in the 1980s and 1990s when Liuzhou was primarily known as an industrial city plagued by acid rain. During that period, the city faced acid rain in nearly 98.4 percent of all precipitation events, making it a less than desirable destination for tourism.

In recent years, however, Liuzhou has undergone significant transformation, with its natural beauty being highlighted by a variety of media outlets. Additionally, the local government has implemented measures to improve the city’s environment, making it more attractive to tourists. As a result, Liuzhou has become a popular destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Zhou Mengyuan is one of many individuals who have been inspired to visit Liuzhou after watching a video showcasing the city’s beauty. As tourism continues to flourish in Liuzhou, it is likely that more people will be drawn to the city, creating a positive impact on its local economy and further increasing its reputation as a must-visit destination in southern China.

The city of Liuzhou, located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has been known for its high concentration of smokestack industries, including steel smelters and chemical plants. As a result of this industrial growth, the city was plagued with thick smoke and a polluted river, which contained more than 30 drainage ditches in a less than 9-km stretch of urban area.

Despite these environmental challenges, Liuzhou has experienced significant economic growth. As of 2022, the city had 1,291 enterprises, each with an annual business turnover of at least 20 million yuan (about 2.9 million U.S. dollars), and achieved an output value of 420 billion yuan, accounting for about one-fifth of the region’s total.

However, Liuzhou has made efforts to improve its environment in recent years. The city’s government has implemented measures to reduce pollution and improve water quality, resulting in Liuzhou being ranked first in surface water quality among all Chinese cities at the prefecture level and above since 2020.

This transformation from a heavily industrialized and polluted city to one that prioritizes sustainability and environmental protection is a significant accomplishment for Liuzhou. The city’s success demonstrates the importance of balancing economic growth with environmental protection and sustainability, and serves as an inspiration for other cities around the world.

Liuzhou represents a microcosm of China’s efforts to build a moderately prosperous society with a livable environment. The city’s transformation began in the early 2000s with a campaign to upgrade its industrial layout. This initiative involved shutting down, transforming, and relocating high-polluting enterprises. As a result, Liuzhou has undergone significant changes, and the city now boasts an improved environment that is attractive to both residents and tourists.

Zhou, a tourist from Beijing, expressed surprise at the city’s clean environment, stating that she did not expect an industrial city to be so pleasant. The city’s success in transforming its environment has been driven by the commitment of companies such as Liuzhou Steel Group. The company has invested heavily in sewage treatment and has built three wastewater treatment stations, allowing for the recycling of over 98 percent of the industrial wastewater produced.

The improvement of Liuzhou’s environment has not only benefitted its residents but also its economy. The city’s efforts to reduce pollution have attracted new businesses and investment, leading to significant economic growth. Liuzhou now has more than 1,200 enterprises, with an annual business turnover of at least 20 million yuan (about 2.9 million U.S. dollars), contributing to about one-fifth of the region’s total output value.

The success of Liuzhou’s environmental transformation demonstrates the importance of striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. The city has proven that economic development can coexist with environmental protection and sustainability, and this achievement serves as an inspiration to other cities across China and beyond. It is a testament to the country’s commitment to building a sustainable and prosperous society.

Liuzhou’s success in improving its environment, particularly in achieving high-quality surface water, has become a key selling point for the city. The annual China Liuzhou International Water Carnival has been held for 12 consecutive years, drawing a large number of tourists to the city to enjoy the clean and beautiful environment.

Local residents are equally proud of their city’s achievements, with many expressing their happiness and pride in the improving water quality of the Liujiang River. Chen Bei, a resident of Liuzhou, highlights the benefits of a clean and beautiful environment, including increased tourism and a sense of community pride.

The China Liuzhou International Water Carnival not only showcases the city’s water quality but also its cultural heritage. The festival includes traditional performances, food and drink, and various water-related activities such as boat races and water sports. It is a celebration of Liuzhou’s achievements in environmental protection and sustainable development.

The success of Liuzhou’s environmental transformation and its international water carnival serve as a model for other cities in China and around the world. The city’s focus on environmental protection and sustainable development has brought economic benefits while also improving the quality of life for its residents. Liuzhou has shown that a commitment to sustainability can lead to a prosperous and thriving community.

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