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Western China embraces green-mode development with painful changes

04-07-2011 14:37 BJT

XI'AN, April 7 (Xinhua) -- It is crucial for western China to explore and practice its leap-forward development with a "green" mode, insiders cautioned at a forum on regional cooperation between China's west and east, which was launched Wednesday in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province.

"It seems a dilemma for the less-developed region to narrow its gap with the fast-moving east while preserving its role as the nation's ecological barrier," said Wei Houkai, deputy director with the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In this sense, it is the only possible way for western China to pursue a green mode to achieve sustainable development, Wei said at the five-day Fifteenth Investment and Trade Forum for Cooperation between East and West China.

Embracing the new round of China's west development strategy, the western region is destined to find its own way with expectations from both at home and abroad.

VAST LAND, PAINFUL GROWTH

"The dominant tint of western China's Shaanxi Province is changing from dull brown to vibrant green," said Wang Jun, an official with Xi'an Chan-ba Ecological District, the site of the 2011 World Horticultural Exposition to be held at the end of April.

With six years of practice, Xi'an is showing the world an astonishing change in turning a polluted garbage landfill site into a model of environment-friendly development.

In the eyes of Wang, it is just a minor test showing the possibility and ability of "green change" in China's vast, far-flung western region, which historically lagged far behind the eastern area.

China started a new round of west development strategy in 2010 to boost its less developed region, which cover six provinces, five autonomous regions and Chongqing municipality, and account for more than 70 percent of China's mainland territory.

Western China has realized a comparatively fast-growth in the past ten years with the previous development strategy. However, the fast growth relied on high energy and resources consumption and high emissions, said Wei.

In 2009, it cost 1.57 tonnes of coal consumption to realize 10,000 yuan of GDP achievement, which is 41.4 percent and 80.5 percent higher than the average levels of the country and the eastern region separately.

With abundant natural resources such as coal, natural gas and oil, western China maintained its extensive development. Pollution emissions were also much higher than the nation's average.

It is a painful but crucial change to achieve leap-forward development while easing the conflict between economic growth and fragile environment, Wei said.


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