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Hengyang looks to history to improve its future

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-19 08:21

Hengyang, the second-largest city in Hunan province, is working to better leverage its historic and cultural treasures to boost overall development, according to its top leader.

Zheng Jianxin, Party secretary of Hengyang and a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, said the city enjoys a history stretching back more than 2,000 years that features an abundance of cultural, revolutionary and industrial treasures - all of which are highly prized by the government.

"We have made plans and regulations to protect and promote our historic relics and cultural heritage sites," he said. "Government departments have specific responsibilities and guidelines in this regard, and the performance of leaders in terms of their heritage protection will be included in their governance records.

"We have also allocated funds for the protection of historic and cultural heritage sites and items," added Zheng, who was speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing first session of the 13th NPC in Beijing.

Located in southern Hunan, Hengyang is home to more than 8 million people, and is part of one of the country's major manufacturing hubs.

Zheng said the city will make full use of its intangible cultural assets to speed up economic and social development.

The local government will build museums, science and technology halls, and cultural exhibition facilities to create a better living environment for residents, improve the tourism sector and help visitors better understand cultural sites and items, he said.

"We're determined to employ the strictest standards and measures when it comes to historic and cultural relics - and we don't allow the demolition of such buildings or the construction of new ones to replace originals," the Party chief added. "New development plans must take a back seat to heritage sites."

Talking about Hengyang's economic prospects, Zheng said the city government will continue to support local manufacturers, especially those involved with nonferrous metals, defense technologies and high-end machinery.

He noted that the government has inked agreements with a number of State-owned and private enterprises that boast advanced technologies, and is in talks with even more to attract further investment.

Hengyang will upgrade its transportation networks to strengthen its connectivity and enhance outbound trade, according to Zheng. Moreover, he added, the city will strive to handle pollution and open more natural parks to improve living conditions.

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