Archive for ‘Yellow River’


China Focus: China’s plateau province sets new record of surviving solely on clean energy

XINING, June 24 (Xinhua) — Northwest China’s Qinghai Province completed a 15-day all clean energy power supply trial, setting a new record following a successful nine-day trial last year, the State Grid Qinghai Electric Power Company announced on Monday.

Nearly 6 million people in the province, which borders Tibet Autonomous Region, only used electricity generated from wind, solar and hydro power stations, from June 6 to 23.

During the 15 days, Qinghai achieved zero carbon emission in power use.

This is the third province-wide clean energy trial in Qinghai. It relied solely on renewable energy for nine and seven consecutive days in 2018 and 2017.

Qinghai is the source of China’s three major rivers, the Yellow, Yangtze and Lancang, and has strong hydro and solar-power facilities.

During the trial, the whole province consumed a total 2.84 billion kwh, with the maximum load hitting 8.47 million kw, said Fang Baoming from the company.

The province’s cumulative capacity during the period reached nearly 4 billion kwh, with new energy taking a large share of 34.7 percent.

Power generated by thermal power plants only accounted for 1.8 percent of the gross generation in Qinghai during the period, and was all transmitted out of the province on demand of the market.

“The 15-day all clean energy power supply reduced coal burning of up to 1.29 million tonnes, and carbon dioxide emission of 2.32 million tonnes,” Fang said.

Qi Taiyuan, general manager of the company, said Qinghai’s electric grid has been expanded this year, with an installed capacity of 2.4 million kilowatts, up 50 percent from last year’s trial.

Qinghai’s installed capacity of new energy has reached 13.9 million kw, accounting for 46.7 percent, surpassing hydropower as the province’s largest power source.

According to the provincial 13th five-year plan, Qinghai will expand its solar and wind capacity to 35 million kilowatts by 2020 and supply 110 billion kilowatt hours of clean electricity every year to central and eastern parts of China, preventing the burning of 50 million tonnes of coal.

China’s enthusiasm for clean energy is pushing the world to transition toward a low-carbon future, with plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan (370 billion U.S. dollars) in renewable energy by 2020, creating more than 13 million jobs, according to the National Energy Administration.

Source: Xinhua


Chinese tour guide barred after forced shopping trip in scenic Guilin

  • Visit to beauty spot spoiled as tourists ordered off the bus to spend, spend, spend
Guilin is renowned for its scenic cruises along the Li River, through magnificent karst mountains. But one tour group was forced on an unexpected shopping trip. Photo: Alamy
Guilin is renowned for its scenic cruises along the Li River, through magnificent karst mountains. But one tour group was forced on an unexpected shopping trip. Photo: Alamy
A tour guide in the scenic city of Guilin in southern China has been stripped of her licence after forcing tourists to spend at least 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) in local shops.
The tour guide, surnamed Zhao, was captured on video telling her customers they had an hour to spend the money and she would accept no excuses.
The short clip, which has been circulating widely on Chinese social media this week, was filmed on June 1, according to online news portal
“You might have thousands of reasons to refuse me, such as you already have this stuff at home,” Zhao said in the video. “I don’t care why you have come to Guilin. Now you have chosen this group … get off the bus and spend 20,000 yuan [in] an hour.”
Tiffany loses its shine with Chinese tourists as US sales fall 25 per cent
Some of the tourists can be heard on the video murmuring “how can it be like this?”

The 55 members of the tour group, from Hunan province in central China, had travelled to Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region from May 30 to June 2. According to their itinerary, they were supposed to visit three shops on the day the incident happened, but instead visited six, the report said.

One of the tourists bought more than 10 quilts, at more than 4,000 yuan each.Guilin is among China’s most popular tourism destinations, famous for its boat cruises on the Li River, which winds through beautiful karst mountains along its banks.

The Guilin tourism bureau said on Tuesday it had ordered Zhao to apologise to the group, and had revoked her tour guide licence.

In its statement on microblogging platform Weibo, the authority also said it was investigating her employer.

Ferrying tourists along China’s Yellow River

Tour guides are banned from forcing tourists to shop or join programmes charging extra fees. A State Council regulation issued two years ago set a 10,000-50,000 yuan penalty for individuals violating the rule, and a further 100,000-500,000 yuan fine for their tour company.

Despite the crackdown in recent years, it is not uncommon for Chinese tourists to be coerced by tour guides into extra spending during their trips. China’s authorities have repeatedly reminded the public to be wary of companies that lure potential tourists with extremely low group fees.

In July last year, a group of 300 elderly people, from the central province of Henan, were reportedly forced to buy jewellery from a shop in Hong Kong. The tour agency charged them just 380 yuan for the whole package and promised there would be no forced shopping activity, according to Henan TV.

But, despite the assurance, they were taken to a jewellery shop where their tour guide told them, “Henan people, spend some money to earn face for your Henan folks.”

Those who did not spend as they were urged had to wait in the shop for hours and were cursed by the tour guide, according to the television report. It is not clear if the tour guide or the agency received any penalty.

Source: SCMP


No time to waste in saving the world’s rivers from drying up – especially in China

  • Brahma Chellaney writes that excessive damming and drastic overuse of water resources are causing the world’s major waterways to run dry
Vessels head for the lock of the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, in central China's Hubei province. Sediment build-up in the dam’s reservoir stems from silt flow disruption in the Yangtze River, Brahma Chellaney writes. Photo: Xinhua
Vessels head for the lock of the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, in central China’s Hubei province. Sediment build-up in the dam’s reservoir stems from silt flow disruption in the Yangtze River, Brahma Chellaney writes. Photo: Xinhua
Thanks to excessive damming and drastic overuse of water resources, an increasing number of major rivers across the world are drying up before reaching the sea.
Nowhere is this more evident than in China, where the old saying, “Follow the river and it will eventually lead you to a sea,” is no longer wholly true.
While a number of smaller rivers in China have simply disappeared, the Yellow River – the cradle of the Chinese civilisation – now tends to run dry before reaching the sea.
This has prompted Chinese scientists to embark on a controversial rainmaking project to help increase the Yellow’s flow. By sucking moisture from the air, however, the project could potentially affect monsoon rains elsewhere.
For large sections of the world’s population, major river systems serve as lifelines. The rivers not only supply the most essential of all natural resources – water – but also sustain biodiversity, which in turn supports human beings.
Yet an increasing number of rivers, not just in China, are drying up before reaching the sea.
A major new United Nations study published early this month offers grim conclusions: human actions are irremediably altering rivers and other ecosystems and driving increasing numbers of plant and animal species to extinction.

“Nature across the globe has now been significantly altered,” according to the study’s summary of findings.

The Yangtze and Jialing rivers come together in the southwestern city of Chongqing. Photo: Simon Song
The Yangtze and Jialing rivers come together in the southwestern city of Chongqing. Photo: Simon Song

Water sustains life and livelihoods and enables economic development.

If the world is to avert a thirsty future and contain the risks of greater intrastate and interstate water conflict, it must protect freshwater ecosystems, which harbour the greatest concentration of species.

The Mekong is mighty no more: book charts river’s demise

Yet, according to another study published in Nature this month humans have modified the flows of most long rivers, other than those found in the remote regions of the

Amazon and Congo basins and the Arctic.

Consequently, only a little more than one-third of the world’s 246 long rivers are still free-flowing, meaning they remain free from dams, levees and other man-made water-diversion structures that leave them increasingly fragmented.

Humans have modified the flows of most long rivers, including the Yangtze, home to some of China’s most spectacular natural scenery. Photo: WWF
Humans have modified the flows of most long rivers, including the Yangtze, home to some of China’s most spectacular natural scenery. Photo: WWF

Such fragmentation is affecting river hydrology, flow of nutrient-rich sediment from the mountains where rivers originate, riparian vegetation, migration of fish and quality of water.

Take the Colorado River, one of the world’s most diverted and dammed rivers. Broken up by more than 100 dams and thousands of kilometres of diversion canals, the Colorado has not reached the sea since 1998.

Sinking sands along the Mekong River leave Vietnamese homeless

The river, which originates in the Rocky Mountains and is the lifeblood for the southwestern United States, used to empty into the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

But now, owing to the upstream diversion of 9.3 billion cubic metres (328.4 billion cubic feet) of water annually, the Colorado’s flow into its delta has been reduced to a trickle.

Altering the flow characteristics of rivers poses a serious problem for sustainable development, because they affect the ecosystem services on which both humans and wildlife depend. Photo: AP
Altering the flow characteristics of rivers poses a serious problem for sustainable development, because they affect the ecosystem services on which both humans and wildlife depend. Photo: AP

Other major rivers that run dry before reaching the sea include the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, the two lifelines of Central Asia; the Euphrates and the Tigris in the Middle East; and the Rio Grande, which marks the border between Texas and Mexico before heading to the Gulf of Mexico.

The overused Murray in Australia and Indus in Pakistan are at risk of meeting the same fate.

Are China’s Mekong dams washing away Cambodian livelihoods?

More fundamentally, altered flow characteristics of rivers are among the most serious problems for sustainable development, because they seriously affect the ecosystem services on which both humans and wildlife depend.

Free-flowing rivers, while supporting a wealth of biodiversity, allow billions of fish – the main source of protein for the poor – to trek through their waters and breed copiously.

Urgent action is needed to save the world’s rivers, including improving agricultural practices, which account for the bulk of freshwater withdrawals

Free-flowing rivers also deliver nutrient-rich silt crucial to agriculture, fisheries and marine life.

Such high-quality sediment helps to naturally re-fertilise overworked soils in the plains, sustain freshwater species and, after rivers empty into seas or oceans, underpin the aquatic food chain supporting marine life.

China’s hyperactive dam building illustrates the high costs of river fragmentation. No country in history has built more dams than China. In fact, China today boasts more large dams than the rest of the world combined.

China’s chain of dams and reservoirs on each of its long rivers impedes the downstream flow of sediment, thereby denying essential nutrients to agricultural land and aquatic species.

A case in point is China’s Three Gorges Dam – the world’s largest – which has a problematic build-up of sediment in its own massive reservoir because it has disrupted silt flows in the Yangtze River.

Likewise, China’s cascade of eight giant dams on the Mekong, just before the river enters Southeast Asia, is affecting the quality and quantity of flows in the delta, in Vietnam.

Yangtze dams may spell end to sturgeon in a decade
Undeterred, China is building or planning another 20 dams on the Mekong.
How the drying up of rivers affects seas and oceans is apparent from the Aral Sea, which has shrunk 74 per cent in area and 90 per cent in volume, with its salinity growing nine-fold.
People beat the heat by cooling off in the Yangtze River in Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province. Photo: Nora Tam
People beat the heat by cooling off in the Yangtze River in Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province. Photo: Nora Tam

This change is the result of the Aral Sea’s principal water sources, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, being so overexploited for irrigation that they are drying up before reaching what was once the world’s fourth-largest inland lake.

Compounding the challenges is the increasing pollution of rivers. Aquatic ecosystems have lost half of their biodiversity since the mid-1970s alone.

Chinese court jails nine for dumping toxic waste in Yangtze

Urgent action is needed to save the world’s rivers. This includes action on several fronts, including improving practices in agriculture, which accounts for the bulk of the world’s freshwater withdrawals.

Without embracing integrated water resource management and other sustainable practices, the world risks a parched future.

Source: SCMP


Beyond the Yellow River: DNA tells new story of the origins of Han Chinese

  • Researchers say history of China’s biggest ethnic group is more complex than many believe
  • DNA study involving 20,000 unrelated people points to three river origins
The study of Han DNA by the team from the Kunming institute challenges a long-held view of the early origins of Chinese civilisation. Photo: Xinhua
The study of Han DNA by the team from the Kunming institute challenges a long-held view of the early origins of Chinese civilisation. Photo: Xinhua
The origins of China’s biggest ethnic group can be traced back to three river valleys, deposing the Yellow River as the sole cradle of Chinese civilisation, according to a new study.
The Yellow has long been hailed as the mother river of Han Chinese, who make up nearly 92 per cent of the country’s population today.
But research published in the online journal Molecular Biology and Evolution on Wednesday said the Yangtze and Pearl rivers – as well as the Yellow – gave rise to genetically separate groups about 10,000 years ago. Those ancestors then mingled to become the largest ethnic group in the world today, it said.
“The history of Han Chinese is more sophisticated than thought,” said Professor Kong Qingdong, a researcher with the Kunming Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead scientist in the study. “Many details need investigation.”
A DNA study suggests the Yellow River (above) may have to share its place as a cradle for Han Chinese with the Yangtze and the Pearl. Photo: Xinhua
A DNA study suggests the Yellow River (above) may have to share its place as a cradle for Han Chinese with the Yangtze and the Pearl. Photo: Xinhua

After analysing DNA samples from more than 20,000 unrelated Han Chinese, examining their dialects and family geography and comparing those to archaeological DNA records, scientists concluded that the Yangtze and Pearl had equal claim with the Yellow to Han origins.

Progenitors from the three river valleys evolved independently, the Kunming team said, and distinctions found in the mitochondrial DNA (the mother’s line) of study volunteers added weight to their assertion.

Who are you? DNA tests help Chinese retrace ancient steps

About 0.07 per cent of the DNA examined in the Han Chinese study differed according to river valley origin. By comparison, the difference was much lower – 0.02 per cent – when the study volunteer data was assessed by dialect, the researchers said.

Earlier studies of genetic markers and microsatellite data that mapped the prevalence of DNA revealed that Han Chinese can be generally divided into two groups: North and South. The latest study found that the genetic variation between North and South Han Chinese is 0.03 per cent, considerably less significant than the distinction by rivers.

Dr Li Yuchun, lead author of the paper, said the findings helped trace the history of Han to the dawn of civilisation, the emergence of agriculture and the sustainable growth of population.

The earliest migrants from Africa to China arrived in what is now the southwest between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago, studies said. The genes of this group of hunter-gatherers were largely unchanged for tens of thousands years.

About 10,000 years ago, agricultural practices began to emerge in the valleys of the three rivers. Archaeologists found evidence of millet cultivation around the Yellow River, rice in the Yangtze, and roots and tubers in the Pearl.

The busy Yangtze River flows through Chongqing in southwest China. Photo: Xinhua
The busy Yangtze River flows through Chongqing in southwest China. Photo: Xinhua

“Increasing food led to a population boom in these areas. We can see it in the separate path of gene evolution,” Li said.

The research also found that women were able to preserve their genetic story better than men as they stayed at home to tend the fields, while men went to explore, trade or wage war.

“Females are resilient to invasion,” she said.

The cultural significance of knowing one’s ancestry

The research team planned to examine the Y-chromosome, which passed from father to son, to study the expansion of the Han civilisation, Li said.

“It will be interesting to hear the story from a male perspective,” she said.

As the Han empires expanded, many ancient ethnic groups such as Huns, Siberians, Khitan in northern China and the Thai-Khadai speaking peoples in the south, passed from the record.

Some researchers think these minorities become extinct, but others believe they were absorbed into the Han Chinese population.

Source: SCMP


China’s iconic revolutionary base Yan’an bids farewell to poverty

XI’AN, May 7 (Xinhua) — Yan’an, a former revolutionary base of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is no longer labeled “poor,” as its last two impoverished counties have shaken off poverty, the Shaanxi provincial government announced Tuesday.

Yan’an hosted the then headquarters of the CPC and the center of the Communist revolution from 1935 to 1948. The city is now home to more than 350 sites related to the Chinese revolution.

The counties of Yanchuan and Yichuan, with a population of 192,000 and 120,000 respectively and both located along the western bank of the Yellow River, have limited fertile valley fields. Villagers there had been plagued by poverty for decades.

American journalist Edgar Snow wrote in his 1937 book “Red Star over China” that the area was “one of the poorest parts of China” he had seen.

According to the provincial poverty relief office, poverty-stricken residents in the two counties now only account for 1.06 and 0.58 percent respectively of their populations, meeting the country’s requirement for an impoverished county to shake off the title.

An investment of 6.25 billion yuan (920 million U.S. dollars) from the central and local governments has been poured into Yan’an over the past four years.

To make sure that every household can get rid of poverty, the city has sent a total of 1,784 Party chiefs, 1,546 working teams and 37,400 cadres to live in the villages to help with poverty alleviation.

A total of 693 impoverished villages in the city have shaken off poverty, with 195,000 people being lifted out of poverty.

The cradle of the revolution has continued to undergo tremendous changes over the past decades. Improved environment and infrastructure, booming agricultural economy, increasingly affordable education, healthcare, and multiple career choices for rural residents have rejuvenated the city.

Yan’an will continue to help the remaining impoverished people shake off poverty, and strive to enter a moderately prosperous society in all respects with the rest of the country by 2020, said Xu Xinrong, Party chief of the city.

Source: Xinhua


China Focus: Nine years on, people in Yushu embrace new life after quake

YUSHU, Qinghai Province, April 14 (Xinhua) — Nine years after a catastrophic earthquake battered Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which killed thousands of people, new schools, hospitals and squares have mushroomed out of debris, and the locals are rebuilding their new life.

Lodru Gyatso, 16, lost his father in the magnitude-7.1 quake, which hit Yushu in northwest China’s Qinghai province on April 14, 2010 and left around 3,000 people dead or missing.

“I was reading books in school when the quake struck,” he said. “When I got back home, my brother told me our dad had been buried under the toppled house.”

Lodru Gyatso’s mother passed away when he was young. He was admitted to a local orphan school after the quake. The school is now home to more than 460 students, many of whom lost their parents in the disaster.

“After the earthquake, we have received many donations, which help to improve our infrastructure,” said Nyima Rigzin, headmaster of the school.

The school, humble with one-storey temporary houses, now has a classroom building, dormitory building, canteen and library.

Lodru Gyatso likes to make robots in the classroom equipped with a 3D-printer.

For 23-year-old Dawa Tsedin, takeout delivery is a bit boring. But it allows him to enjoy the beauty of Yushu’s new cityscape, which has sprung up from a remote, backward town to a modern city over the past nine years.

Dawa Tsedin chose to be a take-away food delivery man in Yushu after graduating from a vocational school in Xi’an, capital of neighboring Shaanxi Province.

He said he returned because he had seen great potential in takeout delivery in the city.

“In the past, I couldn’t believe that takeout delivery was available in Yushu,” he said. “Now as I pass by the landmarks such as the Gesar Square, I really feel that Yushu looks like a big city.”

New buildings with Tibetan characteristics, new business quarters and broad avenues have sprung up in the city, in sharp contrast to the scenes before the quake.

Cai Chengyong, the city’s Party chief, said Yushu has also been improving urban management and building a smart city with advanced technologies.

To date, the city has invested over six million yuan (about 895,000 U.S. dollars) to build an intelligent urban management network covering all streets and communities.

During reconstruction, Beijing has lent a hand, investing heavily in infrastructure construction and bringing talent of education, medicine, city planning and urban management.

Pei Zhifei, a veteran gynecologist from a hospital in Beijing, has been working in the Yushu Prefectural People’s Hospital since 2017, tutoring local doctors in complex surgeries.

“Now many critically ill patients get treated in Yushu,” said Pei. “And many patients from Sichuan and Tibet have come to our hospital seeking medical help.”

Official data show 163 experts from Beijing, including teachers and doctors, have worked in Yushu to assist the reconstruction.

In recent years, Yushu has received a growing number of tourists from home and abroad as it has listed tourism as a pillar industry.

Ashak Yumpon, director of Yushu prefecture tourism bureau, said the prefecture, home to the Hol Xil Nature Reserve and the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang (Mekong) rivers, boasts abundant tourism resources.

“We will promote sustainable development of the tourism industry and build ourselves into an international tourism destination,” he said.

Source: Xinhua


Feature: Bird guardians’ Spring Festival on the Yellow River wetlands

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — Unlike the rest of the neighborhood, which is busy decorating their houses with couplets of rhymed wishes for the upcoming Spring Festival, at 11 p.m. Friday, Song Keming, a mild man with a strong build and pleasant features, put on his coat and began his inspection along the vast and extensive wetlands along the Yellow River.

This is his plan for Chinese New Year’s Eve, as it has been for every day and night for the past 20 years.

Enduring temperature below the freezing point, Song tries to curb his coughs caused by chronic bronchitis as he and others patrol along the wetland. It is the winter habitat for tens of thousands of migratory birds, including Asian great bustard (Otis tarda dybowskii, “dabao” in Chinese), a critically endangered species that has been spending winters here for thousands of years.

There are only about 800 specimens of the great bustard’s Asian subspecies left in China, from where it gets the nickname “the giant panda of the birds.” With striped plumage and known to be the heaviest flying terrestrial bird, the Asian subspecies migrates over 10,000 kilometers across Eurasia every year, which is one of the longest migration ranges of any threatened species.

For 20 years, Song has been guarding Changyuan wetland reserve bordering Shandong and Henan provinces in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. The wetlands have been an important wintering home for the bustard and many other wildlife species that form the rich biosphere of the “Mother River of China.”

During the day, Song and other members of the “Green Future” environmental protection association – a non-profit volunteer team founded and led by Song Keming – search along hundreds of miles along the riverbanks to remove poisoned bait placed by poachers and to rescue any surviving wildlife from threats such as deadly toxins, nets or gunshots or properly dispose of dead bodies.

At night, from 11 p.m. till dawn, the volunteers drive along the wetland that stretches 3,000 kilometers from Shaanxi, Hebei, Henan to Shandong provinces, to fend off poachers, who usually come with hunting rifles and hounds, with the help of local public security organs.

Song has been hit by poachers’ vehicles, shot by their rifles and beaten with bricks and fists, but none of these had frightened him enough to cause him to step away from the battlefield.

Every autumn and winter, as migratory birds return from the northern Mongolian Plateau or the Siberian Arctic tundra, poaching happens more often, especially around the Spring Festival holidays. While criminals continue to break the law in an effort to make a fortune, Song and his team are actively trying to make it more and more impossible for these poachers to succeed.

Last year, the “Green Future” team caught four suspected poachers and helped the local police open three criminal cases. The volunteers scattered a dozen poachers from the reserve, including some well-equipped poaching gang members.

In recent years, more and more like-minded local residents have gathered around Song. Now the team has more than 300 volunteers. More and more people, as well as public departments, have been joining the cause to fight hard against poaching.

To Song’s joy, Chinese society is growing in awareness of the importance of species and habitat protection, while those who choose to eat wildlife to show off their wealth have become a rare minority.

Song was delighted to find that China’s building of an ecological civilization as a national strategy and the protection of species have been obtaining positive results.

This winter, a record number of migratory birds flew back to the Changyuan Wetland Reserve, including grey cranes, taiga bean geese, greylags, etc.

“About 180 great bustards have been observed wintering at the reserve, and by spring when they are about to head north, we expect the total number to be around 200,” Song confirmed with Xinhua reporter over the phone on Saturday.

The nicknamed “Bustard Guardian” firmly believes that as long as the Yellow River wetlands are attentively protected to preserve the wintering home for the migratory birds, where wildlife can stay safe from poaching and disturbances and live in peace, the vigorous biodiversity of the mother river will recover.

And the great bustards, a symbol of the king’s diligent peasants recorded as early as in the Book of Songs (1100 to 600 B.C.), can continue to coexist harmoniously with the Chinese nation, Song said.

In order to honor the man’s tireless efforts in protecting the wetlands, Song Keming was named “the most beautiful environmentalist in Henan,” winning the “Green Guardian” award of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the “Green Monument” award of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

The work of Green Future has received wide acclaim and support from the country and was highly commended by international experts and scholars at the International Conference on Promoting the Protection of Asian Great Bustard held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in 2017.

However, Song could not let himself rest on the laurels. He told the reporters that there is still a long way to go to protect the great bustard and the Yellow River wetlands. The situation is still urgent and we should not be blindly optimistic, he warned.

The International Committee for the Protection of Birds has included great bustard in the Red Book of Endangered Species. “There are only about 800 left in China. Each one of them that we are losing to poaching is a loss too heavy for the survival of the species!” he said.

The man who humbly refers himself as “just a peasant who doesn’t know how to make great speeches” is determined to continue protecting the wetlands and its biodiversity until he can no longer move.

In the future, Song hopes to help the local villages develop eco-tourism that will not cause harm and disturbance to the wildlife in a way that village folks can benefit from species conservation and ecological restoration. For example, helping poachers become tour guides to show the visitors where to view the most breathtaking landscape or how to identify the most beautiful birds or operate homestays and hostels – anyway that they can make money legitimately, Song suggested.

If wildlife and the health of the wetlands became the attraction for eco-tourism, the local population will voluntarily protect the environment, as proven in precedents worldwide, he said.

“I hope that every ordinary person can start from himself, refuse to eat wildlife, refuse to wear fur, refuse to use drugs containing wild animal components and actively report any suspicious sales of wildlife products to the forest police,” Song said, telling Xinhua that he wishes everyone a happy Chinese New Year.

“Everyone can make his/her share of contribution to protecting endangered species,” Song said.

As for himself, the 54-year-old “bustard guardian” is willing to believe that with the concerted efforts of the entire Chinese society, the future is promising for China’s building of an ecological civilization and the biodiversity conservation and for the Asian great bustard to survive and thrive.

“I look forward to witnessing the Mother River of the Chinese nation regain its vitality as people and nature develop in perfect harmony,” Song said.

Source: Xinhua

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