Global Times: African diplomats, scholars explore secrets of Chinese modernization in Zhengding for development inspiration

BEIJING, June 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — For people around the world who are keen on grasping the gist of Chinese modernization in rural revitalization, Zhengding, a county in North China’s Hebei Province where President Xi Jinping worked for three years in the early 1980s, can provide crucial insights into the Chinese leader’s vision for Chinese modernization, which emphasizes all-round development through a people-centric philosophy.
Full of curiosity about Xi’s policies in the early days when he served as deputy Party chief and Party chief of the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of Zhengding county from March 1982 to May 1985, a group of African diplomats and scholars embarked on a journey to explore the secrets of Chinese modernization in mid-May.
They told the Global Times that the county represents a microcosm of the miracle of Chinese rural modernization, and provides inspiration for the agriculture-dominated African region.

Starting with Zhengding, Xi deepened his thinking on economic work day by day and continuously put his ideas into practice. He conducted in-depth investigations and research, gave full play to Zhengding’s comparative advantages, and creatively put forward the idea of a “semi-suburban economic model” to promote the coordinated development of urban and rural areas.
In 2013, during his visit back to Tayuanzhuang village in Zhengding, Xi urged the village to industrialize agriculture, commercialize elderly care, and standardize tourism, in order to achieve a well-off village ahead of schedule nationwide.
In 2021, the Tayuanzhuang village’s collective economic income reached 32 million yuan, and the per capita income of villagers reached 30,000 yuan, achieving a perfect transformation from poverty and underdevelopment to comprehensive prosperity.

Entering Tayuanzhuang village is like stepping into a concentrated modern town characterized by modern agricultural planting, leisure tourism, a farmer training hub, and cultural and performing arts park all in one package.
What excited the African representatives the most was the Tongfu Smart Farm which redefined the concept of plant growth. In the farm, various fruits and vegetables does not require sunlight or soil. Under the rows of LED light panels, green leafy vegetables grow lushly on racks.
The smart farm guide told the Global Times that relying on such kind of artificial light planting can increase yields and reduce labor demand.

“We witnessed modern farming to address food insecurity. I carried this idea back home as a model of smart farms that can transform some of Africa’s poor villages,” Peter Kagwanja, President of the Africa Policy Institute in Kenya told the Global Times, told the Global Times delightedly.
“It was an eye-opener; a deep dive into the inside of a modernizing China. The lesson is that leadership matters for any nation to modernize and rise from poverty to relative prosperity. Xi’s leadership has turned Tayuanzhuang village into one of the most ultra-modern villages in China,” Kagwanja said.

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