The latest Vision China event, “Pearl of the Yellow River, Star of the Silk Road”, was held in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China’s Gansu province, on Friday, according to China Daily.com.cn. It was part of the 10th Lanzhou Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festival which opened on the same day.

Organized by China Daily and the local government, the event aims to implement the spirit of President Xi Jinping’s speeches and instructions about Gansu and boost the culture and tourism industry of Lanzhou, a city along the Yellow River.

Keynote speakers from home and abroad shared their thoughts about the Yellow River civilization’s inheritance and development, as well as its global significance and the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Yellow River is the mother river of the Chinese nation. The Yellow River civilization is an integral part of the Chinese civilization and the root of the Chinese nation,” Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, said in a speech at the event.

The river, which has been winding on for thousands of years, has nurtured the spirit of unremitting self-improvement, perseverance, national amalgamation and openness, thus forming the spirit of Lanzhou – inclusiveness, persistence, innovation and harmony, he said.

He said as an essential vehicle to connect China with the world, China Daily will continue to report stories about poverty alleviation and reforms in Gansu, for the world’s better understanding of the Chinese spirit and China’s policy to help its people shake off poverty.

Wang Jiayi, Gansu province’s publicity chief, said as an essential hub of the ancient Silk Road, Gansu is a strategic tunnel connecting China with west and central Asia. The local government has been striving to protect the Yellow River civilization and ecosystem and build Lanzhou into a tourism hub through the Belt and Road Initiative.

Lanzhou deputy mayor Lyu Linbang said for the past decade, the Lanzhou Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festival has evolved into a brand that enhances the city’s influence. With integration of the culture of the Yellow River, Silk Road and the culture of ethnic groups, Lanzhou is a popular tourist city that attracts visitors with its exotic atmosphere and great landforms.

In a video speech, Erik Solheim, former undersecretary-general of the United Nations and executive director of the UN Environment Program, recalled his visit to Gansu to see the province’s beautiful land forms and the life of its people.

He said the Belt and Road Initiative is a fantastic new opportunity for multilateralism.

“Those countries involved in the initiative see it as an opportunity for shared prosperity and for poorer nations to come out of poverty. But we need to take Belt and Road in a greener direction,” he said.

China is the biggest solar and wind nation around the globe, he added, with much environmental experience to share with the world, such as the greening of the deserts in Gansu.

He expressed his confidence that, together with others, China will create through the Belt and Road and other mechanisms a shared global ecological civilization.

Zhong Lina, vice-dean of the Institute for Big Data Research in Tourism and Culture at Beijing International Studies University, designed a route to take her son along the Yellow River to learn about Chinese civilization and diverse natural landscapes.

She hopes more visitors from the world, especially young people, will use the journey along the Yellow River as a starting point for understanding China.

Orlando Nieva Valente, former general director of Varoni Publicidad & Producciones TV & Media Broadcasting Company in Peru, said the marvelous scenes of the Yellow River remind him of the Amazon River that traverses his home country.

“The deforestation (of the Amazon) is visibly staggering. Many organizations have been doing their best to protect it, but the economic interests of countries or large investors often unfortunately take priority,” said Valente, who’s doing research on new media at the Communication University of China.

Comparing that situation with the Yellow River banks and its developed cities, he said 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 like Beijing.

He believed the Yellow River and Amazon River can learn a lot from each other in terms of ecosystem protection.

Yeshi Lhamo, associate professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said there are various intangible cultural heritage projects throughout the Yellow River Basin, like the Gesar epic tradition.

The Chinese government has established 23 state-level eco-cultural preservation areas across the country, among which eight are located in the basin.

She praised the government’s efforts to protect them and said people should keep observing and thinking about the development of the Yellow River culture.

“The development, vision, history, culture, science and technology, and natural ecology of our Yellow River Basin, can become a model for sustainable development in such an unpredictable world,” she said.

David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum, said the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and its effects have helped accelerate China’s return to a position of centrality through a process of renaissance.

He defined this renaissance in five areas: the Chinese economic re-emergence, China’s social transformation, China’s cultural and intellectual metamorphosis, Global China and China’s position as the source of ideas for the 21th century.

“President Xi Jinping presented the idea of ecological civilization. Not only do we need it for Gansu and China, but also for the world,” Gosset said.

Signing ceremonies of culture and tourism projects on the Yellow River were also held at the event.

“For those from the regions along the Yellow River, they are connected with each other. It’s essential for the regions to work together to promote its great civilization and rich tourism resources,” attendant Li Zhixiong said, an official from the culture and tourism department of Yan’an, Shaanxi province.

Launched in 2018 by China Daily, Vision China invites political, business and academic speakers to tell China’s story from a global perspective and discuss major China-related topics of international interest. Previous to this event, talks have been held 15 times in places like Beijing, Tianjin and London.