More than a dazzling gardening show that showcases the beauty of nature around the world, the Beijing expo at the foot of the Great Wall offers a new platform to understand China's vision of and pool global efforts for building a cleaner and greener world.
With abundant flowers at the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition in the northern suburb district of Yanqing, participants from over 110 countries and organizations shared their experience and concepts of green development, highlighting the importance of international cooperation.
"The development model of 'killing the hens for eggs' and 'draining the lake for fish' is at a dead end," Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the expo. "The future will be illuminated by eco-friendly development that is in accordance with the rules of nature."
He also expressed the hope that the green development concept embodied by the expo park would be spread to "every corner of the world."
With vertical moss walls and horizontal flowerbeds, France's Pavilion offered a cuisine that illustrated a green lifestyle as many plants grown there were edible fruits, vegetables and herbs, which could directly be served in the restaurant on the roof of the pavilion.
Themed "Seeding the Future," Germany's Pavilion presented how green initiatives and projects helped restore the environment after pollution with pictures, and videos displaying the historic changes to Essen city, the Emscher River and the buffer zone of the inner-German border.
"An ecological city needs to integrate the idea of green building with construction projects, and embedding a green lifestyle into urban construction is what we want to show at this expo," said Sara Everett, UK commissioner general and project director for the Beijing Expo 2019.
Cui Kai, chief architect of the China Pavilion and a member of the China Academy of Engineering, called the trend a mentality modernization -- people start to pursue a healthier life, and are eager for the natural beauty of the countryside.
Referring to natural beauty, Singapore's Pavilion's lead designer Jason Wright told Xinhua, "It's not something you should keep in sight, it's something you should experience everyday, to make sure there is a healthy, enjoyable, livable environment."
In a corridor of orchids, Wright said, "It's engrained within our physiology that we need daily contact with nature, to mentally keep us calm, to help in terms of our physical health."
"We should foster a passion for a nature-caring lifestyle," President Xi said, calling for embracing a simple, moderate, green and low-carbon way of life.
His words are demonstrated by the expo and what China has been doing for the past decades.
Cui said the China Pavilion is based on the wisdom of ancient cave dwellers, but designed to be a new model of green ecological conservation that reflects pastoral scenery and presents the simple way of living in ancient times.
During the construction of the over 500-hectare expo site, about 50,000 trees remained untouched and in their original locations. Wang Shuqin, deputy director of the Gardening and Greening Bureau in Yanqing District, said the forestation movement along the Guishui River, by which the expo park is located, has greened the banks with over 13 hectares of woods since 2012.
Hectare by hectare, district by district, China is developing from a contributor to a leader in terms of promoting green development.
Visiting Czech Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec said at the expo site that he was quite impressed by the green coverage ratio in China, voicing his admiration for the national afforestation campaign and greening cause China is undertaking.
Official data show that the forest coverage rate in China has increased by nearly 10 percentage points since the late 1970s. In 2018, China planted 7.07 million hectares of trees, and is now home to the world's largest man-made forest in scale.
"China is undertaking an eco-friendly economic transformation, and we can see the positive results from China's campaigns including air pollution control, forestation and fighting against dust storms and droughts," said Khalid Al-Hajeri, head of the Kuwaiti Green Line Environmental Group.
As an old Chinese saying goes, "A single flower does not make spring." Realizing a beautiful society calls for more coordinated actions from every one of its members.
Talking about bilateral cooperation with China on green development, Brabec said the expectations are great while Richard Burn, British trade commissioner for China, said there are "huge opportunities" on the horizon.
"It is beneficial to make technologies from different countries and of different peoples complement each other in terms of coping with environmental challenges," said Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri.
The ambassador's remarks agree with those of his Palestinian counterpart Fariz Mehdawi, who told Xinhua on Monday that it is very important for humankind that the Beijing Expo promote green development because "we have the same future, and the environmental issues are never one country's own issue."
In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony, President Xi said that concerted efforts are needed in dealing with global environmental issues such as climate change, marine pollution and biological protection.
The Beijing Expo that attracts horticulture and nature lovers is the right place to enjoy exchanges on green development.
Kuwait can learn from China's experience in dealing with environmental issues as China has advantages in research, science and technology, which are very important to Arabian countries, including Kuwait, Al-Hajeri said.
The demonstrating effect of a horticultural expo is "very powerful" because you can see theory put into practice, said Tim Briercliffe, secretary general of the International Association of Horticultural Producers.
"I think many people will come and see physically but it will also be broadcast through various media, reaching many people around the world, so the lessons from this expo will be shared very widely. Yes, it will make a difference definitely," he said.