When Xi Jinping was vice mayor of Xiamen in Fujian Province in southeast China from 1985 to 1988, the port city had just been designated a special economic zone. Xi led a series of reforms in Xiamen, which laid a solid foundation for the city's development. Beijing Review reporters recently traveled to Xiamen to see the results and gain an insight into the governance thoughts of Xi, President of China since 2013.
Xi oversaw the formulation of Xiamen's economic and social development strategy (1985-2000), mapping out Xiamen's reform and opening up and economic growth. In addition, environmental protection was another of his goals. Thanks to his efforts, Xiamen's once celebrated Yundang Lake, which had become a stinking pit of garbage, got a new lease of life. It was cleaned and is today the centerpiece of a vibrant green scenic area that is Xiamen's lungs, where birds like the egret, Xiamen's signature species, abound. He also promoted the development of local airline company XiamenAir and Xiamen Port, which have become the city's name cards.
Xiamen residents remember Xi's willingness to shoulder responsibilities, pursue innovation and serve the people. His work style was pragmatic, never losing sight of the fact that reform and opening up and the development of the economy were tied to improving people's lives and livelihoods. His work also encompassed protecting the city's cultural heritage. Notably, his faith in socialism with Chinese characteristics never wavered, even in difficult times, and his exceptional leadership ability and personal charisma were immediately felt by those who worked with him.
Xiamen today boasts high-quality economic growth and a sound ecological environment. These characteristics will also define the entire nation under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which includes Xi's thinking developed while working in Xiamen. In a way, it is Xiamen's contribution to China's social and economic development and the work of the Communist Party of China and the government.
In Xiamen, Xi showed that the spirit of reform needs to be matched by courage to test new things. That courage and broad vision are still needed in comprehensively deepening reforms and promoting high-quality economic growth in China.
The strategic vision, long-term planning and respect for objective laws that he showed in planning Xiamen's development are what the nation needs to promote scientific development in a new era.
And Xi's emphasis on environmental protection and the strategy to fight pollution are still guiding the drive to promote an ecological civilization in China.