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Land in five colors: The natural and ecological beauty of China

Mei Jia
Updated: Jun 10,2015 8:07 AM     China Daily

Locals fish on bamboo rafts on the picturesque Lijiang River in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A breathtaking photography show at the United Nations Headquarters in New York has offered an insight into China’s efforts to preserve its natural environment.

The Beautiful China Photo Exhibition wrapped up its UN debut at the end of May. With 63 carefully selected photos, the exhibition displayed images of China’s natural beauty, ancient wisdom and world heritage.

It tells the story of China’s natural and cultural attractions as well as its continuing efforts to build an environmentally friendly and ecologically sound country, such as moving toward green energy and conserving water resources.

Countryside landscape of Zhonglu village in Weixi county, Yunnan province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

“I was so taken by the pictures on show, especially the Yellow River photo, which looks like a golden dragon to me, that I would like to go on a trip to China right now,” says Maria Travato, a UN staff member visiting the exhibition.

For China’s permanent representative to the UN, Liu Jieyi, every photo on display tells a wonderful story of China, about its traditions, and more importantly, about its recent progress in balancing economic development with care for the environment.

“The photos show Chinese history and the Chinese way of thinking that is part of the country’s glorious past, but they are also evidence of the Chinese Dream that we’re pursuing: to build a beautiful China, which is in line with the world’s progress,” Liu said at the opening ceremony of the exhibition on May 27.

Snow-covered Hemu village in Altay, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Michael Adlerstein, assistant secretary-general of the UN, who is also an architect, says he is impressed by ancient Chinese buildings.

“The photos exhibited here show the diversity of China’s natural environment and its ecological zones ... they inspire us to protect them for future generations,” Adlerstein says, adding that “China is emphasizing ecological awareness and protection”.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to showcase China’s beauty through photos exhibited on the first floor, which will be seen by many delegates, staff and visitors,” he says.

The exhibition is based on the book China: Land in Five Colors, originally published by Red Flag Press in Chinese. The English version of the book is frequently given as a state gift at diplomatic occasions.

A water town in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Coordinating with China National Geography, the book’s editor and the UN exhibition initiator Tao Hua says the book selected 400 photos from 134 top Chinese photographers. It reflects the concept of homeland.

“China is our proud homeland of five colors, each representing kindness, warmth, strength, peace and openness,” Tao says. “We have arranged the book according to the five colors.”

“The key point of the book is to strengthen Chinese wisdom so that people and nature are one entity, and Chinese people value life and the laws of nature,” Tao says.

In the book, each chapter is themed around one of the five elemental colors, yellow, black, red, white and green. Each tells a different story of the country’s latest eco-programs, while introducing culture, landscapes and environment.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

The editors say the book is an attempt to answer questions such as, where is the beauty of China? What makes China so beautiful? How we can add to its beauty?

“Chinese continue to cherish their ancient wisdom and follow the philosophical norm of harmonious coexistence of man and nature along with social progress,” the editors state in the book.

The country has shaped a general strategy for sustainable development. The focus will be directed on the adjustment of industrial infrastructure and the development of a “circular” economy, the book summarizes the top-level strategy.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

“The improvement of China’s legal system will also help reduce damage to the nation’s ecology,” the editors add.

Senior Party official Cai Mingzhao is hopeful for China’s future.

“During China’s urbanization process, towns and villages, rich with history, together with a myriad local customs and traditions and enhanced modern infrastructure, will thrive alongside their preserved and protected natural beauty and cherish the people’s eternal love for their homeland,” Cai says in the book’s foreword.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

[Photo provided to China Daily]

[Photo provided to China Daily]