The Energetic and Robust Land of Eastern Hebei Province - Interview sidelights of Foreign Journalists' Visits to Tangshan and Qinhuangdao
From May 26 to 28, 2008, a dozen of foreign journalists from the US, the UK, France, Belarus, Brazil, Peru, Turkey and South Korea, under the organization of the International Press Center of the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Affair Office of People's Government of Hebei Province, visited two fairly well-known cities of Hebei, i.e. Tangshan and Qinhuangdao.
Tangshan - Phoenix Nirvana – Extending Support to the Wenchuan Compatriots
The 5.12 massive earthquake hitting Wenchuan, Sichuan province has drawn worldwide attention. People are reminded of Tangshan which suffered the same disaster 32 years ago. How the life, urban construction and economic development of Tangshan look like today? With such a question in mind, the journalists arrived at this ancient yet "new" city.
During the tour, they saw rows of distinctive courtyard buildings, busy shops, broad roads and lines of trees. There wasn't any sign of the disaster which had ruined the city years ago. However, earthquake remains an irremovable memory of Tangshan. The journalists drove to the memorial monument square in downtown Tangshan. The two earthquake monuments stand at the east and the memorial museum sits at the west of the square. On a 3-meter pedestal, the major monument stands 30 meters high and is composed of 4 independent trapezoid reinforced concrete structure columns. The 4 contraction ends of the columns look like huge hands extending to the sky, symbolizing that humans can emancipate themselves from the natural order. At the 1.5-meter height of the monument there are 8 granite reliefs the scripture on which note the assistance to Tangshan from nationwide in those days. Erecting at the north of the main monument, the other smaller one carves the date, description of the earthquake as well as the disaster relief and reconstruction efforts of Tangshan.
Some of the journalists just returned from the Sichuan disaster-hit regions. They looked up to the monument, reading silently the scripture, appearing serious in thought and praying for the dead and the survivors of the Tangshan and Wenchuan earthquakes.
Chen Guoying, Mayor of Tangshan told the journalists that the Tangshan people felt exactly the same pains as the Sichuan disaster-rocked people. Immediately after the Wenchuan earthquake, Tangshan not only dispatched people and materials for disaster relief but also compiled brochures containing useful experience of disaster relief and sent to Sichuan. In addition, Tangshan also offered consultations and suggestions to the central government and Sichuan province on relief and reconstruction, which is of unique value to the rescue efforts in Sichuan.
The relief efforts of the Chinese government after the Wenchuan earthquake are quick, effective, open and transparent, the spirit of sparing no efforts to save and help the disaster-hit people of the PLA and the armed police of China is admirable, the courage and strong character of the disaster-affected people and the contributions and love of China and the whole world to the earthquake-hit regions is moving. Symbolized by the rebirth of Tangshan, the Chinese people are fully capable of conquering the Wenchuan earthquake disaster and rebuild their beautiful home.
Not far away from the monument square there lies Tangshan New and High-tech Development Zone which was established in April 1992 and hosts 605 companies. Since its establishment, the zone has accomplished RMB19.2 billion of regional GDP, RMB3.3 billion of fiscal revenue, actually utilized US$340 million of foreign investment and undertaken 517 science and technology programs. It was named as "the best development zone for investment of multinationals" by the Chinese and foreign multinationals CEO roundtable summit in 2007. The zone is best known for its industrial welding and automobile components manufacturing industries. Today, it hosts 21 Japan-invested companies which is the largest number of Japanese companies in Hebei province. The journalists visited Panasonic Welding Systems (Tangshan) Co., Ltd. (PWST) and toured the manufacturing area composed of cable, mechanics, consumables and control transformers. The head of the company said that PWST enjoys good business performance in the zone.
The journalists also visited Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co., Ltd which is located in Fengrun district of Tangshan. As a leading locomotive manufacturer with more than 120 years of history, it produced the first steam locomotive and passenger train in China. China's first EMUs with a speed of 300km/h, which is a leading EMU technology in the world, were also born here. Speaking at the welcome ceremony in the conference hall of the technology center, Hou Baofeng, vice secretary of the company's CPC committee introduced the history and technology competitiveness of the company with an English VCR. Then vice chief engineer Zhou Junnian answered the journalists' questions. The foreign guests then visited the aluminum alloy car body line which is composed of workshops of underframe, assembly, welding, polishing, painting and general assembly. The finished engines and cars stand in the spotless modern workshop, evidencing the sound management and operational ability of the company, which was highly recognized by the journalists.
The "Land of National Treasury" - Exploration on Caofeidian's Scientific Development
Caofeidian, located at the southern coastal area of Tangshan, is an emerging industrial zone built by "blowing sands and filing ground". With a distinct geographical feature of "deep troughs in front of the sea and shallow against the land", Caofeidian provides the most suitable conditions for the building of large deep water port and port industries and hence is called the "land of national treasury". Launched in 1992, the Caofeidian project is listed as the "No.1 project" of Hebei province and Tangshan city and incorporated into the eleventh national five-year plan. The initial plan area of Caofeidian industrial zone covers 310 square kilometers and 80 square kilometers have been claimed. As one of the first national cycling economy pilot zones, Caofeidian integrates iron & steel, petrochemicals, power and manufacturing industries and will become a leading cycling economy development zone in China.
The journalists first of all visited the two giant sand tables which vividly described the four points and one line planning of Tangshan's coastal area and the planning of Caofeidian industrial zone. Xu Boxun, vice director of the management committee of the industrial zone introduce the planed layout of the zone to the journalists in great details, drawing the blueprint of the future development of the industrial zone. Led by the head of the management committee, the journalists visited the Shougang Jingtang Iron ＆ Steel Company project, 300,000-ton crude oil terminal project and 250,000-ton minerals terminal project. The endless construction teams, the fleets of transport trucks, the giant iron & steel project, the crude oil terminal looking like rainbow running across the water and the bridge-type ship unloader appearing like huge arms holding the sky all present a glorious picture. The development potential of Caofeidian, especially the explorations on developing the cycling economy drew high interest of the journalists who asked questions one after another to seek the answers of China's scientific development in the vast land of eastern Hebei province.
Qinhuangdao, Cheering for the Olympic Games
Qinhuangdao, well known for the Beidaihe resort under its jurisdiction, is the only prefecture-level city co-hosting the Olympic Games. During the Beijing Olympic Games, Qinhuangdao will host 12 football matches of which the one between China and Brazil attracts the most attention. The six-story Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Centre Stadium where the match will be held appears like a white sail floating on the backdrop of the blue sky and a giant shell on the seashore. The canopy roof of the stand uses 24 cement and steel columns and steel-arched structure covered by arc-form membrane, presenting a strong sense of moving and beautiful curves and combining perfectly architectural art and high technology. The stadium can hold 33,000 audiences. According to the local officials, the design of the stadium integrates various factors including technology and environmental protection and takes into full account the use of the venue after the Olympic Games. The journalists were eager to try such a quality playground. A number of young men couldn't contain themselves any longer. Putting down their machines, they started playing football to find out how it would feel to play on such a perfect field.
Li Qinsheng, vice director of the Qinhuangdao Olympic Games leading group and Qinhuangdao's vice mayor, introduced the preparations for the Games and the development plans of the city. Other officials of Qinhuangdao also answered questions of the journalists about the Olympic Games security measures, food safety and tourism. The journalists were deeply impressed by the pleasant scenery, clean environment and unique beach of Qinhuangdao.
In a short period of 3 days, the journalists traveled thousand of kilometers and felt the beating pulse of eastern Hebei province. The visits to Tangshan and Qinhuangdao made people more confident of the recovery and reconstruction of Wenchuan, see with their own eyes China strides forward along the road of scientific development and expect more for the upcoming Olympic Games.