Mother rivers can nourish rejuvenation of Chinese and Indian civilisations.
“You come from the snow-capped mountains, the spring tide reveals your style; You rush to the East Sea, the torrents show your spirit …” In China, the Song of the Yangtze River, which depicts the majestic grace of the longest river in China, is known to all. The Yangtze river is a mother river of China. Rushing from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and pouring into East China sea, it has nourished the underpinnings of Chinese civilisation.
However, due to over-exploitation in the process of rapid economic growth, our mother river became seriously ill. The river is silted up and its water polluted with garbage.
President Xi Jinping highly values protection and management of Yangtze river and China’s other mother rivers. In 2016, he chaired a meeting in Chongqing city for development of Yangtze River Economic Belt and highlighted the importance of “treating the illness of Yangtze river”. In 2018, he visited cities along Yangtze and presided over a symposium in Wuhan, a major city on the Yangtze river, deliberating on advancing the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
President Xi pointed out that to cure the “illness of Yangtze river”, we should follow the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine, find the root causes and treat them systematically.
The key is to restore balance between promotion of grand strategies and major breakthroughs, coordinate ecological protection and resource development, and synergise overall planning and long-term efforts.
After years of effort, China has developed a set of effective measures for mother rivers’ governance. First, update mindset. All stakeholders shall jointly protect the mother river basin rather than conduct excessive development. We should recognise that “lucid waters and lush mountains” are actually “mountains of gold and silver”. A holistic approach towards ecological environmental protection and economic growth shall be adopted.
Second, optimise top-level design. Incorporate the development of Yangtze River Economic Belt into the overall national strategy and align it with the overall development of China. Third, establish an innovative mechanism to harmonise the guiding role of the central government, overall responsibility of provincial governments and implementation responsibilities of municipal and county governments. Fourth, apply a unified blueprint and focus on implementation. The source for river pollution lies in the bank and its root cause is industrialisation. We should strictly enforce environmental protection laws.
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