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City embodies proponent of philosophical teachings

By WANG XIN ( China Daily)

Updated: 2021-05-25

A philosophical system in Confucianism that prevailed in China hundreds of years ago still carries weight in the modern world, shaping people's attitudes toward life, personal pursuits and social governance.

Wang Shouren, more commonly known as Wang Yangming, a prominent philosopher living in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is considered a master of the School of the Mind.

Guiyang, Guizhou province in Southwest China, came to provide a key turning point in Wang's contribution to developing the school's teachings, as it is where he started to put forward key concepts in his doctrines.

"Guiyang has integrated the unity of knowledge and action, a key concept proposed by Wang, into the city's development," said Song Qing, Party secretary and executive president of the Guiyang Innovation-Driven Development Strategy Research Institute. "Focusing on economic growth and ecological protection, it is exploring a new high-quality development path, different from advanced eastern regions and also from other cities in western regions."

Long known for its well-preserved ecosystem and cool climate, Guiyang highly values its ecological assets. It has created many firsts in the country in terms of environmental protection. It rolled out the first local regulations on creating a circular economy, established the first environmental court and founded the first commission for ecological civilization. It is the first eco-civilization demonstration city.

The city is creating a park system, covering forests, wetlands, urban public spaces, mountains and communities, according to Song. Home to 1,025 parks, the city has increased its forest coverage from 46.5 percent to 55 percent over the past five years. "The parks have not only improved Guiyang's cityscape, but also helped to improve its urban functions," Song said. "That benefits the current generation of residents, and furthermore, has preserved urban spaces for future development."

Guiyang will advance the park city construction during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), combining urban landscaping and city administration, in a bid to promote an innovative city governance model for sustainable development and high-level opening-up, she added.

Seeking eco-friendly economic growth, the city is riding the wave of the big data industry in the digital era. It has joined the ranks of the cities that are the most suitable for investment in data centers in the country, according to the Data Center Industry Alliance of China.

Government data show the digital economy has become a major engine driving the growth of the local economy, contributing 36.8 percent to the city's GDP in 2020.

Behind the choice of the innovative exploration path is the guidance under Wang's teachings, including the unity of knowledge and action, said Song, who also serves as the chief expert at the International Documentation and Research Center for Yangming Culture (Guiyang). With a knowledge of opportunities coming alongside a new round of technological innovation, Guiyang has taken action to promote the big data industry. As the core part of China's first comprehensive big data pilot area, Guiyang and Guian New Area serve the country's big data strategy and are committed to innovation in theory, system, rules, standards, practices and technology, Song said.

The city has made a series of breakthroughs in creating related standards and theoretical systems. In particular, the world debut of Big Data Terminology in 11 languages last year helps to promote the healthy growth of the global industry and the internationalization and branding of the "Chinese digital value" that Guiyang advertises itself as, she added.

Playing an active role in promoting culture centering on Wang's philosophy, Guiyang has made progress in heritage preservation, academic research, campus education and international exchanges, she said.

In Wang's teachings, a good conscience provides grounding for individuals' moral consciousness and choices, and it also refers to the internalization of common morality and etiquette in society, providing moral guidance for behavior, Song noted.

"Despite differences among various civilizations, the pursuit of a good conscience is shared," she said. "Wang called for responsibility and kindness and creating a commonly accepted morality system to keep society harmonious. His thought represents the recognition of a diverse civilization and the inclusiveness of differences among civilizations.

"Wang's teachings is expected to help link different civilizations and provide a solution to modern governance in the new era featuring great changes and adjustments."

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