SCO and Qingdao

2018-07-10 17:59:38 China Pictorial2018年6期

by Zhou Xin

More than 17 years have passed since the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2001. It has played a positive role in promoting good neighborly friendship among member states, cooperation in many areas, regional peace, security and stability and building a new world political and economic order that is democratic, just and equitable.

The Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO is the most important annual activity of this organization. This year will see the “Shanghai Spirit” celebrated on the shores of the Yellow Sea. In June, the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO will be held in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong Province. During a recent news briefing, Zhang Jiangting, secretary of the Qingdao Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), revealed, “All preparation work is almost finished. The city is well equipped for the summit.”

Why Qingdao?

On December 9, 2017, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Symposium on International Developments and Chinas Diplomacy that the SCO summit in 2018 would be held in Qingdao. This is the first time for China to host the SCO summit since 2012, and Qingdao becomes the third Chinese city following Shanghai and Beijing to hold this summit.

Why was Qingdao chosen to host this summit? According to many observers, the citys economic vitality, competence, and openness made it particularly attractive. Located in the coastal metropolitan area of the Shandong Peninsula, Qingdao is the core of Shandong Provinces economic development. Its pillar industries include the marine economy, manufacturing and port economy. In the Global Urban Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 jointly issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Qingdao ranked 164th, and it was 14th among 21 Chinese cities in the top 200.

During preparations for the summit, Qingdao placed great attention on the combination of preparations and improvements to the city and meeting residents needs. Guided by this principle, all venues for the summit were renovated from existing buildings. With the original structure preserved, the space inside was upgraded. This practice not only meets the demands of the summit, but also lays a solid foundation for subsequent operation of those buildings after the meeting closes.

“The venue for the meeting, the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, is an icon of Qingdaos scenery, which is characterized by a combination of mountains, oceans, city and bays,”added Zhang. He explained that the shape of the venue implies “sailing to pursue a dream.”

As for security, Qingdao has implemented detailed measures on all procedures. It has formulated a comprehensive emergency plan and conducted practical exercises. The city has also made great efforts in food safety. A pantry to hold all the food for the summit has been established. Ingredients will be bought, inspected, stored and delivered in a unified manner. They will be monitored at all times and in all places.

In 2017, “good air” days in Qingdao reached 342, an increase of 24 days compared to the previous year and the best number in the past three years. The forest coverage rate increased to 40 percent, which won the city the title of National Garden City. Qingdaos endeavors in green development and environmental protection have laid the groundwork for the summit.

Demonstration Zone: Promising Future

Staffers can hardly be found at the automatic container terminal in the Qingdao Port. Instead, various kinds of machines perform work in an orderly way. Piles of containers come from, and go to, countries around the world.

Ma Weigang, director of Qingdaos Bureau of Commerce, noted that as a major Chinese city and one of the first to open to the world, openness is Qingdaos biggest feature and advantage.

Qingdao is a major pivot on the new Eurasian land bridge under the Belt and Road Initiative. It is also a strategic hub of marine cooperation. With support from Chinas Ministry of Commerce, the Eurasian Economic and Trade Cooperation Industrial Park was jointly built by Qingdao and the SCO Business Council. By the end of 2017, Qingdao has invested US$500 million in 74 projects in countries involved with the SCO. Countries related to the SCO signed investment contracts valued at US$475 million concerning 226 projects in Qingdao, of which Qingdao has used US$157 million foreign investment in areas including household appliances, electronics, textiles, apparel, logistics and trade.

On April 3, 2018, Chinas Ministry of Commerce released a document supporting the construction of Chinas first demonstration zone for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation in Qingdao. Upon completion of the demonstration zone, trade relations between Qingdao and countries involved with the SCO will become even tighter. And the effects of mutually beneficial partnerships will become even more apparent. It is expected that the Qingdao summit will serve as a magnificent start of a long relationship with the SCO.

SCO Films: Another Story

On October 31, 2017, Qingdao was designated by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) as a “City of Film,” the first in China. The first SCO Film Festival will be held in the city from June 13 to 17, 2018. The festival will invite film delegations, artistes and representatives from the film industries of eight member states and four dialogue partners of the SCO. Over 30 activities will be held and nearly 60 outstanding films from those countries will be screened and compete for awards at the festival.

In 1898, a German cinematographer ventured to Qingdao and shot scenes of the city and the lives of the Chinese people. His work became one of the first documentaries made in China. Yuan Meilin, president of Qingdao West Coast Development Group, explained, “Qingdaos title as a ‘City of Film did not come from nowhere. The citys relations with film can trace back to the era movies were first born.” The festival will be held in the West Coast New Area of Qingdao. Over 30 world-class film studios have been set up there.

“The SCO Film Festival is for communication, interaction and exchange,”said Yuan. “The cultures of participating countries will be on full display on this platform. Films produced by countries including Russia, India, Afghanistan and Iran are amazing.”

When Chinas reform and opening up began four decades ago, Qingdao led Chinas cities in opening to the world and embracing fast growth. In 2008, Qingdao hosted the Olympic Sailing Regatta. When the SCO summit opens, foreign guests will again be welcomed by the hospitable people of Qingdao.

“The summit will not only demonstrate through Shandong Province and Qingdao the achievements of Chinas reform and opening up and its modernization, but also fuel development of tourism and trade, further promoting Qingdaos high-quality growth,” added Zhang.

Qingdao is indeed ready for the SCO summit.