BOAO, Hainan, March 29 (Xinhua) -- At a sideline event on Chinese modernization held on Wednesday at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference, heated discussions took place between guests from home and abroad.
British scholar Martin Jacques used to get frustrated when he saw streets in Beijing or Shanghai full of American Buicks, or Japanese Toyotas and Hondas. "I would literally walk around trying to count the number of Chinese brands," he said at the event. He had not been to China for three years prior to this trip to the BFA forum, which is scheduled to run from March 28 to 31 in Boao, a coastal town on China's island province of Hainan.
"Now, I see electric vehicles more and more on the streets, and they are Chinese-made," he said, adding that China is already a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing.
This is a way in which Chinese modernization has broadened out across its economy and society, Jacques said. "It is a most extraordinary achievement."
Fifteen years after the Wenchuan earthquake that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, significant changes have become evident in the county in Sichuan Province.
"In the past 15 years, Wenchuan has completed earthquake relief, post-disaster reconstruction and poverty alleviation work, and is now on the road to rural revitalization," said Li Jianjun, Party chief of Wenchuan and an invited guest at the forum. "Rural revitalization is an important part of Chinese modernization."
The speed of Wenchuan's reconstruction left a deep impression on former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is also a BFA board member.
After the earthquake, she visited Wenchuan and brought 100 children to the Philippines for psychological treatment. She said at the forum that the speed at which Sichuan has been rebuilt is amazing and demonstrates the benefits of Chinese modernization.
Arroyo first visited China in the 1970s, when, she said, trains were rickety and Shenzhen was still a small fishing village. But Shenzhen's GDP is now higher than in many modern countries, she said.
As the host town of the BFA, Boao has witnessed a series of changes, which are also a testimony to the process of Chinese modernization.
In the 1990s, Boao was a small fishing village that had no decent roads and was full of dilapidated houses and wasteland. Now, however, infrastructure and facilities such as an airport, high-speed trains, hotels and duty-free shops are providing residents and visitors with high-quality services.
In recent years, Boao has strengthened its international exchanges and cooperation. "We will work to show the world an open and inclusive China," said Pan Yanhong, executive vice mayor of the city of Qionghai.