English Channel > Rediscovering China


CCTV.COM (10.22 2003 10:51)

    For most, Sichuan is synonymous with delicious food.It has a unique cuisine, which has gained an international reputation. The second most striking feature of the province is its surrounding mountains. These mountains form a basin, in which the province's 85 million people live.

    Sichuan is a mountainous region, with a basin called the Chengdu Plain. This plain has high rainfall and fertile soil, making it a rich agricultural region of China.

    Sichuan Province lies between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, making it an essential transportation passage linking the north and south regions of western China.The province covers an area of 485,000 square kilometres.

    Sichuan is located in a sub-tropical belt, with a varying topography and climate.It has an abundance of flora and fauna, with 143 kinds of rare animals and more than 10,000 species of rare plants. The amiable natural environment also influenced the customs of the local people.

    Sichuan cuisine is the most distinguishing feature of the province's culture.

    'Sichuan cuisine is one of the eight major Chinese cuisine. It devotes particular attention to the color, aroma, flavor and appearance of each dish. But it is mainly known for being very spicy. This is the famous Sichuan "Bobo Chicken." Is it really spicy? It is, but in a good way. And it has a great aftertaste," said Zeng Shaohe, a chef.

    Sichuan people are famous for their tolerance of hot and spicy food.It is said that eating chili somehow reflects the culture and temperament of the province's people.

    Each Province has its own particular culture that has developed over centuries. This culture reflects the people's attitude to life and the surrounding world. The Sichuan culture is very poetic. For example, they take a very different approach to tea drinking. They believe it should be an entire serene experience, with the atmosphere being just as important as the actual taste of the tea.

    In all of China, Sichuan province has the most teahouses.Tea drinking plays an important role in the lives of the local people's, they believe consuming tea daily is as necessary as eating rice.

    While Sichuan people are relaxing and enjoying their tea, they like to be entertained by performances, particularly the local Sichuan opera.

    Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding was founded in 1987. There are 31 Pandas in this breeding centre. Once the population reaches about 50, they plan to release some back into the wild. At the moment there are less than 1,000 pandas left in the wild in China, with 80 percent of these in Sichuan.

    The Giant Panda is a unique animal found in Sichuan. The Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding hopes to boost the Giant Panda population, through their artificial breeding program. The Pandas which are born in this centre will be given minimum handling by the staff, and prepared for eventual re-release into the wild.

    Emei Mountain is a place of natural beauty, with wild mountains and clean rivers, and the area is listed on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage list. Taking a cable car up to the Mountain you can have a clear view of the magnificent surrounding scenery. Emei Mountain is one of the four main religious mountains in China, with many pilgrims and tourists visiting. The steep sided mountains also provide a perfect playground for the local monkey population.

    The development of the Global IT industry has made life a lot easier, forming a new network economy. However, the concept of networking though is not a new idea.Sichuan has had an irrigation network called Dujiangyan, for more than 2,000 years. This system contributed significantly to the rural prosperity of ancient China, and it is still in use today.

    The water resources in Sichuan are plentiful, resulting in good fertile lands, but also devastating floods. The Dujiangyan Irrigation Network has been trying to tame the province's waters for 2,000 years. It has been proclaimed by the Chinese as the "most perfect irrigation network in the world".

    The network was designed by Li Bing in 306 BC. He was the local governor and a highly acclaimed irrigation expert of his time.

    The Dujianyan consists of three major sections, the water-dividing dyke, the spillway and the water inlet. The network is positioned to take advantage of the natural topography, and flow of the river. Ever since its construction there has limited floods and droughts in the lower plain areas, leading to the province's reputation as the "Land of Abundance".

    Historically Sichuan developed its economy early. It has rich land and abundant natural resources, thus boosting the growth of the region. Sichuan province has always been an important base for China's industries and in particular science and research, machinery, electronics, power generation, metallurgy and chemical industries. Up until the 1980s the economic strength of Sichuan province was unsurpassed, but with the industrialization and urbanization of eastern China, the agricultural based province began to lag behind. However a lot of Sichuan's natural resources still remain untapped.

    Several million Sichuan residents have chosen to migrate to Eastern China in search of better work prospects.The money they bring back to the province is equal to the yearly financial revenue of the whole region. Often when these workers return to Sichuan after several years working, they are even more aware of the economic gap between their homeland and the eastern states.

    Chengdu Plain covers 6,000 square kilometres of Sichuan. The remainder of the province is covered with mountains and plateaus. In these areas many farmers have never been outside their villages, due to the constant nature of their agricultural lives.

    However the villages in Sichuan are gradually changing, single agricultural production is being replaced by a diversified economy.

    Luzhou is a medium-sized city in Sichuan. The Luzhou airport has just undergone extensive renovations and expansions. Several new routes from Luzhou to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have begun service. Other transport expansions include the construction of an international goods container port, due to be completed at the end of this year. With the continuation of the West China Development Project, the small and medium-sized cities in Sichuan have a good opportunity to grow and expand.

    'We have many goals for the next 30 years. First, to make Sichuan's economy the strongest in western China; second, to provide ecological protection for the upper areas of the Yangtze River; third, to achieve cultural prosperity and coordinate economic and social growth,' said Zou Guangyan, Deputy Governor of Sichuan Province.

    The cost of living in Chengdu is one of the lowest anywhere in China. For 60 US cents, you can hail a cab and ride for up to 4 kilometers. Many people believe the province's high standard of living should exclude it from the West China Development Project.Western Forum of China was viewed as a "feast of new economic thoughts" for the progress of China, and it was here that the West China Development Project evolved. Sichuan province, as the host of the forum was the focus of much attention, and attracted many investors at the conclusion of the meeting.

    During the Western Forum of China the heads of more than 200 multi-national companies gathered in Chengdu. This turn-out exceeded the organizers and officials expectations. The foreign companies attended the forum, because of the huge market potential, advanced technology and talent in the western regions of China.

    Sumiko Lead-frame Chengdu, or SLC is the latest overseas expansion of the Sumiko Japanese company. The efficiency of the Sichuan government meant it only took SLC 14 months to gain official approval and begin production.

    The Leshan-Phoenix Semiconductor Company is a joint venture, between Leshan Radio Company and Motorola. The total investment in this company is 280 million US dollars. The company has a three-phase expansion plan to attain its goal of becoming the largest volume, lowest cost discrete semiconductor manufacturer in the world.

    Sichuan Foreign Enterprises Service was set up by the provincial government to help overseas investors do business in Sichuan. This center provides a range of services for foreign investors, including consultation, taxation, sales, marketing, and auditing.

    'The goal of establishing this Center is to provide a whole range of services for all the foreign investors who come to Sichuan. Improving the province's overall investment environment is an important step. Foreign investors really appreciate our slogan, 'We Make Everything Convenient',' said Liu Gang, Director of Sichuan Foreign Enterprise Service Co., Ltd..

    The Service goes by the slogan: "We make Everything Convenient," showing a clear wish to encourage foreign investors. Every year the centre deals with over 400 companies.

    Theirry Van Helden, the Chief Representative of the Netherlands Business Support Office, believes the investment environment in Sichuan is good.

    Interview: Thierry Van Helden - Chief Representative, Netherlands Business Support Office

    'What's the investment environment in Sichuan like at the moment?'

    'I think the investment environment in Sichuan is very good at the moment, especially with the Chinese government's go-west policy, in which they promote investment in the west. I think also for a lot of foreign companies, because the west is still quite undeveloped, so it gives a lot of opportunities to investment over here.'

    This is the Overseas Students Pioneer Park and the Chengdu Doctor's Pioneer Park which aim to provide a special service to overseas students and Ph.D. students to encourage them to work in Chengdu.

    The Turing Technology Group was founded by Liu Chaoyu. Liu gained his Ph.D. in the United States, and returned to Chengdu to establish a company that develops communication software.

    Interview: Liu Chaoyu, President of Turing Technology Group

    'Why did you come back to Chengdu to work?'

    'The main reason is here is my hometown, and I love everything here. Another main reason is, during the period when I studies in the US, Chengdu government and Sichuan government always sent us greeting cards during New Year and Chinese New Year, which gave us some warm care, encouraged me to come back to try to do something here.'

    Foreign capital and the development of Hi-Tech enterprises have stimulated the growth of Sichuan's economy. In particular the economy of some small and medium sized cities are rapidly expanding, with the help of science and technology.

    Mianyang is known as a science and electronics city of western China. Although only 500,000 people live here, there are 21 members of the Chinese Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. There are also more than 160,000 science researchers. The science research institute here is a leader in the field both in Asia and the world. All these factors combined to create a developing and dynamic city.

    Mianyang is one of the major cities in Sichuan. The city is based partly on the science industry, and is home to The China Engineering Physics Institute. There are altogether 43 independent science and technology research institutes, and about 300 private technological enterprises. Mianyang is also an electronics city. The electronic companies in the city account for 45.1 percent of the total industrial output of Mianyang.

    'With the West China Development Project, we should take the opportunity to make Mianyang a science-rich, high-tech city. We should push the policy to develop China with better scientific education. Following market trends, we'll attract more talented people and introduce more advanced technologies for enterprises to use. Meanwhile, our scientific achievements will come to full circle and stimulate further development of the high-tech industry,' said Wang Xingzhong, Deputy Mayor of Mianyang.

    The Sichuan Changhong Electronic Corporation is referred to as "The King" of colour TV production, as it is the largest colour TV producer in China. Changhong, with its famous brand and technical innovation, has the ability to continue to expand. The company hopes to be ranked as one of the top 500 global companies by the early 21st century.

    Changhong has now become the foremost electronic brand in China, setting a leading example for the transformation of other similar state-owned enterprises in China. Private enterprises in Sichuan are taking full advantage of opportunities arising from the West China Development Project, and forging their own path in new industrial fields.

    In the past the development of motorways was government funded, but more roads are now being privately financed. For example, the Wango Group is building 21 kilometres of road at a cost of 7.5 million US dollars. With the Government gradually changing its investment policies, more private companies are investing in Western China.

    According to Pu Tiqin, the Chairman of the Wango Group, a local innovative Entrepreneur, the Wango Group has been successful in many fields, including IT and real estate, accumulating a large amount of capital.

    'Infrastructure investment brings private enterprises economic and social benefits. For economic benefits, we need to make money in order to develop. Right now, it's hard for the government to invest in infrastructure, so private enterprises need to step in and invest. It's a way of supporting the government,' said Pu Tiqin, Chairman of Wango Group Co., Ltd.

    Luo Sanpei is an agricultural scientist who runs a private research zone. Sanpei's innovative grafting techniques have cultivated a new species of tomato, with each tree growing to two metres in height and bearing 112,500 kilograms per hectare.

    Luo Sanpei is a senior agronomist and graduated from Southwest Agricultural University. He said, 'Because of poor family health, I decided to learn traditional Chinese medicine. While I was practicing medicine in the countryside, I found out that poorer people were more likely to get sick because they have no money for preliminary check-ups. This means that in order to help improve health in rural areas, we need to raise incomes there. That's why I turned to crop breeding, which helps farmers to raise their incomes. After 20 years, we've finally bred the leading hybrid rape seed - the Fuyou 1.'

    Fuyou 1 has now been successfully bred and used world-wide. In China 4 million hectares of the crop have been planted, increasing the farmers income by 600 million US dollars.

    Sichuan is now establishing a hi-tech belt, focused on IT and biological engineering linking Chengdu, Deyang and Mianyang.

    There are two major economic zones in central China. One is Chenyu, centred around Chengdu and Chongqing, while the other is the Central Shaanxi Economic Zone, located in Xi'an. So these three cities are essential economic hubs for western China. Sichuan also hopes to take a leadership role in the West China Development Project.


About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . . cycnet . eastday .
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved