City of Nanning: China’s Green City

City of Nanning: China’s Green City

by Charles Joseph G. De Guzman / December 27, 2016/ This article appeared in the Manila Bulletin print edition

(One of the winners of the favorite place in china essay contest)

My dream of going to China was realized when I received a confirmation from the National Youth Commission (NYC) of the Philippines regarding my application to be part of the Philippine delegation to the China-Southeast Asia High Level People to People Dialogue from June 2-8, 2013. The said event was sponsored by All China Youth Federation (ACYF), an umbrella organization for Chinese youth organizations and excellent youth in the country composed of 52 member organizations and over 77,000 individual members at all levels.

The event was held in the City of Nanning, Guanxi Province, approximately 591 km. away from Hong Kong. As an avid backpacker, surfing the net and looking for the cheapest fare became my priority to realize my China dream.  I found out that mainland China has easy access to Hong Kong either by bus, ferry or airplane.

Instead of taking a direct flight from Manila to Nanning via Guangzhou and back, a trip to Manila or Clark to Hong Kong via budget carrier airlines will be much cheaper. With my fellow delegates for China, we departed to Hong Kong on June 01 at 7:30 am and arrived at 9:30 in the island. Traveling by bus from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to Causeway Bay which cost us around HK$45, it took us 1 ½ hours. We proceeded to Metro Park Hotel in Causeway Bay and looked for the ticket booth of China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Limited (CTSHK).

img_6440The long stretch of whole night traveling by bus, we finally reached Nanning City in the morning and the bus ride ended in Langdong Bus Terminal, a major transport terminal in the city. We were fetched by the student volunteers from Guangxi University for Nationalities. These student volunteers served as our guides and interpreters for the duration of our stay in Guanxi Province. The youth delegations of the 10 Southeast Asian countries attending the China-Southeast Asian High Level People to People Dialogue were billeted to Wharton International Hotel, a five-star hotel in the city.  The location of the hotel is overlooking the vast expanse of the river and the surrounding city which are brightly lighted up in the evening.

One thing that makes the City of Nanning charming and captivating is its environment. The whole city is surrounded by parks and trees.  Trees, shrubs and flowering plants are bordering the walkways. Parks and public spaces are accessible to all.  You can’t help but notice the well organized urban planning of the city.  The local city government ensures the planning details are strictly enforced.  The distinctive order, planning and the environment of the city makes it very conducive for a healthy city living.

Compared to the other cities and provinces in the north of China, Nanning enjoys a favorable hot climate and a lot of rainfall, making the city very ideal for planting, boasting a vast expanse of green surroundings, so pleasing to the eyes.  In addition to its climate, the City of Nanning is a coastal city which makes it a gateway for trade and cooperation to Southeast Asian countries.  Aside from its coast, the city shares a border with Vietnam, allowing one to travel to both countries by train.

Preserving China’s Ethnic Minorities

Aside from its beautiful and green surroundings, the provincial government of Guangxi is also at the forefront of keeping the culture and traditions of its ethnic minorities. The province is home to 12 ethnic groups: Zhuang, Han, Yao, Miao, Dong, Mulao, Maonan, Hui, Jing, Yi, Shui, and Gelao. The largest ethnic minority is Zhuang, which is about 32.8% of the total population of the province.

The Guangxi Museum of Nationalities is the home for the preservation and keeping the culture and traditions of the ethnic minorities in the province. Moreover, the museum aims to collect, protect, research, inherit and display the traditional ethnic cultures of Guangxi.  The same museum showcases and keeps the different artifacts and materials of the different ethnic cultures of Guangxi Province. It also boasts an outside display garden center showing the typical ethnic buildings, ethnic handicrafts and customs of the different nationalities in Guangxi.

After visiting this museum, I was left with an impression, the kind of admiration the common Chinese citizens have. Taking out some of their time to visit and look on the different displays in the museum to remember their heritage. What allowed them to go the museum is the fact that they are free. The government shoulders the cost of its maintenance and upkeep to preserve it for generations after generations to come. This is a good policy thus encouraging its people, specifically the common citizen to enjoy and learn the richness of the province’s history and its ethnic minorities.  Encouraging the citizens to visit their museum(s) gives them a sense of identity and hope for their future as a people of Guangxi.

Having visited the city of Nanning which is the one of the many cities in the Southern part of China, one can imagine for its bright future. It can also surmise the important role that this city will play in the economic relationship of China and the Southeast Asian region given the proximity of this city to the region. The Chinese government is also keen on its development, given the construction and activities in the areas. Moreover, promotion for tourism and foreign business investments are very intensive both local and abroad. In addition to that, the city of Nanning together with other Southern Chinese cities are being positioned by the Chinese government as the hub and gateway for Southeast Asian countries to enter the Chinese market and vice versa. .

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