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A Chinese county’s pursuit of becoming an international modern garden city


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Visit Deqing County, Huzhou City, in China’s southeastern coastal province of Zhejiang. Because there’s one place that both the New York Times and CNN think is worth paying a visit: Mogan Mountain.

With its rolling mountains and beautiful scenery, Mogan Mountain is known as the equivalent of “Hamptons” in eastern China.

But don’t linger in Mogan Mountain for too long, as there’s more to explore in Deqing County. With over half of its land covered by mountains and waters, Deqing seeks to build itself into an international modern garden city and become China’s Zermatt, the world-renowned Alpine Swiss city.

The natural landscape has endowed Deqing with unique advantages developing ecological tourism, making this small county a pioneer in practicing China’s green development concept. With about 45% of Deqing covered by forests, the county offers visitors a refreshing experience.

The green nature of Deqing lies not only in landscape, but also in industrial development. With the help of the profound digital technology accumulation in Zhejiang, which has nurtured Alibaba and other Internet giants, Deqing is taking the lead in the low-carbon development of China’s urban industries and the country’s grassroots push to achieve the goals of carbon peak and carbon neutrality.

In 2021, Deqing issued the plan for practicing 2030 agenda for sustainable development (2021-2025), a global first at the county level. The concept of green and low-carbon development runs through Deqing’s modern industrial development. The county has introduced green factory evaluation system, accelerated the elimination of backward production capacity, and built a green high-end industrial chain.

In terms of rural governance, spatial digitalization technology based on geographic information (GI) has empowered Deqing’s green transformation. Deqing integrates GI technology with other technologies to develop new formats, products and services. Smart countryside, smart old-age care, smart industry and digital management platforms have gradually emerged in rural Deqing.

Deqing’s green development concept not only goes deep into nature, industry and governance, but also goes beyond the border. Mogan Mountain International Tourism Resort was awarded a national tourist resort, attracting many B&Bs operated by foreigners; Deqing held the first UN World Geographic Information Conference; The country’s two digital governance practices were recognized by the UN.

This is Deqing, a sustainable development highland where nature and science and technology coexist and blend, an exemplar Chinese county practicing green development from the inside out, and an emerging international modern landscape garden city.

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