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Waterway's majesty represents China, Peruvian researcher says

By XU LIN in Lanzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-25 13:36
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You can't say you've really seen China until you have seen at least some parts of the Yellow River, a Peruvian researcher and former media executive said.

Known as "the Mother River", it's a potent icon of Chinese geography and history, said Orlando Nieva Valente, former general director of Varoni Publicidad & Producciones TV& Media Broadcasting Company in Peru.

He's currently doing research on new media at the Communication University of China in Beijing.

In Spring Festival of 2013, Valente visited his friend's home in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

He got a chance to appreciate the Yellow River in winter. The river was completely frozen, and dozens of boats and ferries of all sizes were stuck in the ice.

"I hopped on them one by one, as I tried to act like a Titanic sailor captain," he said.

"I captured this scene with my camera. Staring at them through my lens, I found they seemed to cry out for summer to return, for the ice to defrost and to sail back again."

The Loess Plateau can be seen along the riverbank. Locals told him they can catch the most delicious fish when the yellow silt falls from the slopes into the river.

"To the locals, the Yellow River is more than a river-it's like a playground, a gathering place for people to relax and socialize," he said.

"My friend, who grew up along the river, enjoyed playing with her friends and brothers on the bank when they were little. They would go to see their parents and other adults fish in the river."

When he arrived in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, on Thursday and saw the Yellow River in autumn for the first time, he was struck by its overwhelming power.

"The current is much swifter than I thought, and its deep, rich copper hues remind me of a river of caramel. I see people enjoying boat rides and cable-car rides across the river," he said.

Seeing the great river reminds him of the Amazon that traverses his home country, Peru.

The Amazon River, which crosses a number of countries, including Colombia, Peru and Brazil, originates in the Andes of Arequipa in the south of Peru. It's synonymous with life and biodiversity. It runs through the most extensive rainforest on the planet at 7 million square kilometers.

Unfortunately, various pressures threaten its stability.

Forests are being cleared for the extraction of mineral resources, such as copper, gold and uranium, and natural resources like wood and wildlife.

He said protecting this part of the planet is of the utmost importance. Many organizations have been doing their best to preserve it, but the economic interests of countries or large investors often take priority.

Policies and regulations have been developed to conserve the rainforest. But some people disregard them.

"Comparing that situation with the Yellow River banks and its developed cities, the difference is that, for centuries, China has been increasing the modernization of the main towns and communities along the banks, turning them into prosperous metropolises," he said.

Gansu province, which is home to a large expanse of desert, is working to prevent sand and soil erosion through such measures as planting grass and restoring farmland to reduce the amount of sediment entering the Yellow River.

It is carrying out projects to improve the health of the ecosystem by integrating the management of grasslands, forests, wetlands, biodiversity and the river basin.

By the end of 2019, the province had treated more than 65,000 sq km of land where sand and soil were easily carried away by wind and water.

"I can see that the Gansu government is taking a comprehensive approach to protecting the river, as mutual communication among different actors is indispensable to effectively maintaining an ecosystem," he said.

He believed that the people who live near the Yellow and Amazon rivers can learn a lot from each other in terms of ecosystem protection.

He said China's connection with Peru goes back 170 years. Chinese investment in Peru's mining, banking and telecommunications has been increasing, especially after Peru became involved with the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019.

China, Peru and other countries are planning a megaproject called the Bioceanic Railway Corridor.

This will benefit the countries involved by making it easier to transport commodities, particularly iron and soybeans from Brazil and such minerals as gold and copper from Peru.

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