Tongchuan transforms from a coal to leisure city

Updated: 2013-10-28 15:37

By Lu Hongyan and Ma Lie in Xi'an (

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Tongchuan, once a coal city in Shaanxi province, has successfully transformed into a leisure and health city, China Daily learned on Wednesday.

According to Guo Dawei, mayor of the city, after long-term exploitation of resources, the city's transformation was particularly urgent as it faced problems such as resource depletion and limitation of sustainable developing capacity.

In 2009, Tongchuan was listed as one of the pilot cities for resource-based transformation for sustainable development by the State Council. It is being supported by the National Development and Reform Commission until the end of 2016.

The Shaanxi provincial government made great efforts to support and promote the city's transformation, with the governor and standing deputy governor serving as head and deputy head of the city transformation promotion work group, respectively, in order to speed up the program. After deep research about the pattern of development for the resource-based city and the cultural superiority of Tongchuan, the city government decided to further develop its Chinese medicine industry and transform the city into a leisure and health center.

Tongchuan city is located in the middle of Shaanxi province. It covers a total area of 3,882 sq km and has a population of 840,000. The city has a long history with a large number of ancient relics and ruins. It is the hometown of the well-known ancient doctor Sun Simiao from the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). Tongchuan’s past has provided conditions to help build itself into a leisure and health city.

The mayor said that the city's transformation does not mean it will give up the traditional coal industry, but instead promote transforming the traditional industry by integrating the development of coal and power.

"At present, the coal, power, aluminum and cement industries are still the major pillar of the city's economy, contributing 86.9 percent of the city's industrial economy annually," Guo said.

Meanwhile, the city has made great efforts to develop its leisure, health and tourism industries by deeply promoting its resources of Chinese medicine, health, culture and tourism, the mayor said.

The city has carried out and planned some 130 projects in Chinese medicine, health, culture and tourism with investments of over 40 billion yuan ($6.57 billion). Its tourism saw a combined annual income increase of 48 percent on average in recent years, Guo told China Daily.

The city has also paid attention to further developing its agriculture and fruit industry. To date, farmer annual incomes from the fruit industry have reached over 4,000 yuan ($657) per person.

In order to build a clean and more comfortable city, Tongchuan has worked hard to control pollution by closing 57 cement production lines and promote the use of clean energy.

At present, its forest coverage reaches 45.1 percent in the city, and green coverage in its urban area is 42.65 percent, the mayor said.

According to an evaluation report of the livable city level in Shaanxi province 2011-2012 made by the provincial information center, Tongchuan was listed first among all the cities in the province. The mayor said that Tongchuan will speed up its transformation in order to complete its work by 2016 and set an example of transformation and development for other resource-based cities.