As building a beautiful countryside is a long haul, Longnan in Gansu province will continue to draw lessons from other countries and boost cooperation to make progress, said a senior city official.

Sun Xuetao, the city’s Party Secretary, made the remarks at a parallel forum under the 2020 “Belt & Road” Beautiful Countryside Forum held in the city between Dec 21-23.

The parallel forum aimed to offer constructive insights and views on how to develop rural resources and build beautiful landscapes, according to the event’s organizers.

Sun shared Longnan’s experience at the forum, which featured four main methods of “protection, maintaining, construction and demolition”.

“We seek to reach a harmonious coexistence between man and nature by designing scenic areas based on local conditions,” Sun said. An array of villages have been built in this way, which integrates the human landscape and local environment, he added.

Considering some remote areas in Longnan were hampered by poor infrastructure, local authorities ramped up efforts to build expressways and expand internet access and power networks, Sun said.

Statistics showed that 12,000 kilometres of roads have been built in the city’s rural areas so far. Currently, about 95 percent of administrative villages have access to the internet. The improvement in infrastructure connects distant villages with the wider world, bringing residents a new lifestyle as well as more happiness, Sun said.

Longnan also placed a strong emphasis on agricultural development and established a local e-commerce system to help villagers sell agricultural products.

Longnan’s specialities have reached a much larger market through the system and locals have seen their income grow, Sun said.

“In today’s Longnan, mobile phones are becoming a new farming tool; live streaming, a new farm job; and data, a new agricultural asset”

He said.

In addition to Sun, officials from Shanxi, Qinghai, Xiamen and Tianjin brought the success stories of building beautiful countryside. The city of Tianjin, for instance, launched a three-year action plan in 2018 to enhance rural areas’ living conditions.

A slew of measures have been rolled out, ranging from removing illegal buildings and dredging rivers, to cleaning up agricultural waste, said Yang Qingsong, deputy director of the city’s agriculture and rural affairs committee.

These have delivered great results, accelerating the coordinated development of urban and rural areas of the city, Yang said.

In terms of rural management, Xiamen in Fujian province has worked to set up a smart management model by utilizing information technologies such as big data and the internet of things.

All key streets in the city’s rural areas have been equipped with internet-based surveillance cameras to ensure residents’ security, according to local officials.

Wu Xiaoling, a Senior Official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, called upon governments and authorities to strengthen their support for rural tourism.

“More than facilitating the building of beautiful countryside, it can promote the development of modern agriculture and raise farmers’ income,” she said in a speech.

Also Read: “Belt & Road” Beautiful Countryside Forum 2020