Hainan marks 30 years of development through reform #China Newsweek#-Sino-US


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Hainan marks 30 years of development through reform #China Newsweek#
On April 13, a conference was held in Haikou, the provincial capital of Hainan, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the province and the country’s sole provincial-level special economic zone.
 
President Xi Jinping unveiled a plan to build Hainan island into a pilot international free trade zone at the conference, and called for accelerating the process to develop it into a center of international tourism and consumption.
 
Hainan is the epitome of the country’s reform and opening-up since it became a province and a special economic zone 30 years ago, transforming from a remote and underdeveloped island into an international tourist center.
 
Now, Hainan stands at a new starting point, and in the future it will make more efforts to carry out specific and suitable reform measures to make the special economic zone more open, more energetic and more international.
 
In the 13th issue of 2018, the China Newsweek magazine ran a cover story on the development of Hainan, its efforts, experiences and problems in past 30 years and the outlook for the island province.
 
Below is an excerpt of the article.
 
The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Hainan province and the special economic zone.
 
The achievements of the country in the past 40 years have shown that the reform and opening-up has been pivotal in determining the country’s fate, creating a development model with Chinese characteristics.
 
Hainan province was created under the reform and opening-up policy, and it was transformed into a prosperous and international tourist center in 30 years from a border island. 
 
Though the Hainan island was a key communications hub of the maritime silk road and rich in resources, it was backward and closed before the establishment of the province since it was an outpost of the country’s national defense.
 
The central authorities have paid attention to the development of Hainan since the country started the reform and opening-up, and set up some special economic zones in 1978. 
 
In 1980, the State Council, the country’s cabinet, held a special meeting on the development of the island. 
 
In 1983, the State Council held three meetings in February and March to discuss Hainan’s development, laying the foundation of opening-up policy to boost the island’s development.
 
On June 12, 1987, Deng Xiaoping said that China will set up a larger special economic zone covering whole of Hainan, and he expected Hainan to achieve amazing development.
 
On April 13, 1988, the National People’s Congress approved the establishment of Hainan province and the special economic zone. Hainan became the country’s youngest province and the frontier reform and opening-up zone.
 
Spirit of special economic zone 
 
Around the year 1988, tens of thousands of people crossed the Qiongzhou Strait to Hainan, including many young intellectuals, and they were given a common name at the time: “Chuanghairen” (or migrants to Hainan). 
 
Qin Jianguo, a young Beijing man, carried tens of packages of instant noodles and his diploma with him on trains, buses, and ships for several days to travel from Beijing to Hainan. 
 
Like a ritual, saying goodbye to the past and embracing the future, Qin took off his thick layer of clothes piece by piece along the route to the south, finally stepping onto the island on a sunny day.
 
Among the Chuanghairen, Wang Gongquan, Feng Lun, Wang Qifu, Yixiaodi, Liu Jun and Pan Shiyi, gathered 30,000 yuan to start the adventure, and in 1993 when their company became Vantone Group, they earned 30 million yuan.
 
The six people have become important businessmen in the country’s real estate industry and also in the investment field.
 
Chen Lianggang, chairman of Hainan Litree Purifying Technology Co Ltd, said that he never regrets coming to Hainan, and if he went to another city, there would be no Hainan Litree. 
 
“Coming to Hainan is my choice, and it was the start of a new life. Hainan has the sweat of my struggle,” Chen said. His company provides products to more than 40 countries and regions now.
 
The special economic zone possesses an indomitable spirit, and the people are pioneering and hardworking, said Mao Zhihua, an official from the Hainan provincial Party committee.
 
In June 2017, Liu Cigui, the Party chief of Hainan, said that Hainan should carry forward the spirit, seizing opportunities and creating opportunities to further solidify Hainan’s future strategic position and historic mission.
 
China had no prior experience in establishing a provincial level special economic zone, and Hainan had to tread an untrodden path. Since the establishment of the province, Hainan has become a testing ground.  
 
In 1988, Hainan was first to conduct an institutional reform under which the system of provincial government directly administering the counties to improve the administrative efficiency was implemented.
 
In 1991, Hainan was the first to conduct the trial of shareholding reform of the state-owned enterprises. In 1993, it was the first to carry out the reform in company registration system and then in 2004, it became the first province to cancel the agricultural tax.
 
In 1990, the State Council approved foreigners to apply for entry visas in Haikou and Sanya, and in 2000, the State Council approved Hainan to implement visa-free policy for tourists from 21 countries, with more countries to be added to the list later.
 
Experiments in reform and opening-up
 
During the development of the Hainan special economic zone, the construction of the Yangpu economic development zone was a typical example of allowing foreign investors to rent large pieces of land to set up comprehensive development projects.
 
But such a model allowing foreign investors to take a large piece of land created an opposing viewpoint, and Deng Xiaoping gave an instruction to help solve the problem, and Yangpu became the country’s sole bonded zone in 1992.
 
In 2004, with the support from the State Council, Hainan reshuffled the development body of Yangpu and realized the transformation to government-led development in 2007. 
 
Zhang Lei, director of the management committee of the Yangpu economic development zone, said that the zone has completed the total investment of 110 billion yuan, including 89 billion yuan of productive investment.
 
The zone has an industrial cluster of oil and gas processing on the scale of 60 billion yuan, two industrial clusters of oil and gas storage and pulp-paper on the scale of 20 billion yuan, as well as some billion yuan-level industrial clusters, Zhang said.
 
In June 2017, Hainan set up the provincial planning commission to take charge of the compilation, management and supervision of the special planning of the whole province, ensuring the implementation of Overall Hainan Planning.
 
Shen Xiaoming, governor of Hainan, said that the commission’s establishment can represent the general reform of Hainan, and the commission was a product of reform and should play an important role in leading the institutional reform.
 
Now, such practice of making integrated overall planning has spread to other provinces, such as Jilin, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Henan, Guizhou and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
 
In March 2014, the Hainan provincial Party committee applied for and the Central Commission for Political and Legal Affairs approved Hainan to be one of the six provinces in the first batch to undertake judicial system reform.
 
Dong Zhiliang, then president of Hainan High People’s Court, said that the goal of the judicial reform is to select good workers and oust bad workers through competition, and create a sense of honor among judicial workers.
 
Till October 2017, Hainan has taken 59 reform measures, and Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court, said that Hainan’s judicial reform has set an example for the country.
 
Integration into Belt and Road
 
On February 27, 2001, 25 Asian countries and Australia co-sponsored the establishment of the Boao Forum for Asia and chose Boao as the permanent site of the Annual Conference of the Forum.
 
In 17 years, the forum has acted as a huge “loudspeaker” for the voice of Asia to the world. President Xi Jinping has been to the forum in 2013, 2015 and 2018, advocating a community of shared future for mankind.
 
Starting from 2015, Hainan built a dialogue platform for mayors and governors from China and ASEAN members during the Boao Forum, reaching a series of agreements every year to push forward the cooperation with Belt and Road countries.
 
In 2017, Liu Cigui called on building a pan-South China Sea tourism economic cooperation circle. He said that proposals on cooperation should be turned into concrete policies, projects and achievements.
 
He said that "through continuous opening up and cooperation, Hainan has become an important window to demonstrate China's building of a community of shared future for mankind, and realize of the great rejuvenation of China."
 
In July 2017, Hainan signed friendly agreements with Palawan province of the Philippines and Bali province of Indonesia. Official statistics showed that cities in Hainan have twinned with 54 foreign cities, laying a foundation for implementing pan-South China Sea tourism economic cooperation.
 
In 2016, the trade volume between Hainan and Belt and Road countries reached 50.4 billion yuan, accounting for 67.3 percent of the province’s total trade volume.
 
Local companies, including Hainan Rubber Group and Hainan Mining Co Ltd, have actively carried out overseas investment, mergers and acquisitions with the support of preferential policies and superior resources.
 
These companies have created opportunities and economic benefits for the places they invested and also brought advanced technologies.
 
Tropical agricultural experts from Hainan have gone to Maldives to solve problems of coconut trees, and set up joint laboratories and factories to provide artificial breeding and indoor feeding techniques for natural enemies of coconut beetle.
 
Ecological preservation
 
At the beginning of this year, some excavators and breaking machines demolished the five-star Intercontinental Hotel’s restaurant on the shore, working carefully to avoid the waste falling into the sea. 
 
Several months before the demolition, the restaurant was identified as one of the problem projects by environmental protection inspectors from the central government.
 
Hainan has taken quick and specific measures to tackle the problem projects mentioned by the inspectors. In fact, Hainan province has taken measures to ensure its ecological beauty ever since its establishment.
 
“Building an eco-friendly province is of great value and global significance, so the proposition was put forward at that time,” said Yan Jiaan, an ecological expert who advocated making Hainan an ecological province in 1998.
 
“Hainan is a tropical island with unique situation and shoulders special responsibility,” Yan said.
 
Hainan has made outlines on the planning of ecological province and environmental protection regulations, carrying out six forestation projects, and exploring compensation mechanism for protecting ecology.
 
In 2017, the Hainan provincial Party committee passed the decision on further building ecological civilization, which says that the newly built rural buildings should not be higher than coconut trees and the property projects targeting outside buyers in the core ecological areas be permanently stopped. 
 
After 30 years of development, improving the quality and functions of the special economic zone and building a modern international tourism island have become the major priorities for Hainan.
 
According to Liu Cigui, Hainan would carry out systematic innovations in opening-up, ecological civilization and industrial development; making overall provincial planning; strictly implementing appraisal measures, and not focusing on GDP; and simplifying the approval system.

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