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The Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, the world's largest expo of its kind, is scheduled to be officially closed on Wednesday after 162 days of showcasing a pastoral landscape of hills, waters and plants.
Sprawling over an area of 503 hectares, the expo opened to the public on April 29 in Beijing's northern suburban district of Yanqing. It has brought together exhibitors from 110 countries and international organizations, as well as more than 120 unofficial exhibitors, for indoor displays and outdoor gardening.
As of Monday, admissions to the expo amounted to 9.34 million. A closing ceremony of the expo will be held on Wednesday.
Around 8,000 gardening plants and 820 vegetable, fruit and herb species were displayed at the event.
Aerial photo taken on October 7, 2019 shows the Guirui Theater at the International Horticultural Exhibition in Yanqing District of Beijing, capital of China. The 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition will be closed on October 9. Since its opening in April, the expo has held 3,284 events, attracting 9.34 million visitors. [Xinhua/Cai Yang]
"Rare plants, characteristic gardens and main exhibition halls have left a deep impression on tourists from around the globe," said Ye Dahua, deputy head of the expo's coordination bureau.
More than 3,200 cultural events showcasing the culture and ecology of participating countries were also held during the expo, including concerts, dances, operas and displays of intangible cultural heritages.
Passionate African dances, exquisite Thai fruit carvings, fascinating Turkish paintings and authentic French baguette baking offered exotic experiences and were widely adored by visitors.
"Everyone became tan and thin by patrolling the venues and gardens every day," said Guo Jia, a horticulture official of the expo's coordination bureau.
For the past five and a half months, Guo and her colleagues have been busy making sure the park was looking its best.
"We're so proud that the whole world has seen China's achievements in horticulture," she said.
The expo reflects China's vision of green and sustainable development, and serves as an ideal place to learn how far the country, fueled by this development philosophy, has come.
China has led the way in promoting green development, according to Bernard Oosterom, president of the International Association of Horticultural Producers, who also notes that the expo proves the country's efforts in building an ecological civilization.
The expo, themed "Live Green, Live Better," has promoted the idea of green development among the public over the past several months. Yanqing, the site of the expo, is a good example of pursuing green development.
Artists perform during the "Sierra Leone Day" event of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing, capital of China, September 28, 2019. [Xinhua/Ren Chao]
With a forest coverage of nearly 60 percent, one can barely believe that Yanqing once suffered from desertification when its forest cover rate was less than 7 percent in the early 1950s.
Beijing is much greener with its forest coverage rising to 43.5 percent in 2018 from 12.8 percent in 1980, and its urban green coverage more than doubled to 48.44 percent in the same period, according to the municipal greening bureau.
"China's ecological deficit is turning into an ecological surplus, which shows the country has achieved great progress in ecological civilization construction," said Pan Jiahua, head of the urban development and environment institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
As building a "Beautiful China" sits high on the national agenda, China has also employed creative methods to make its people more environmentally conscious.
Since 2016, users of Alipay Ant Forest, a public welfare platform, have been planting an average of 110,000 trees in arid areas every single day by playing a mobile game embedded in the Alipay app.
File photo taken on April 22, 2019 shows Ant Forest users planting trees in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province. [Handout via Xinhua]
A whopping 122 million trees have been planted under the joint efforts of the platform and its 500 million users by August, which have helped reduce total carbon emissions to the tune of 7.9 million tons.
The green initiative won the award "Champions of the Earth" — the UN's top environmental honor, for inspiring consumers to reduce their carbon footprint.
A study in February using data from NASA satellites showed that China had contributed to at least 25 percent of the increase in the global green leaf area since the early 2000s.
China piloted carbon emission trading in seven provinces and cities in 2011 to explore market-based mechanisms to control greenhouse gas emissions. A national carbon emission trading market was launched in 2017.
China's carbon dioxide emission per GDP dropped by 45.8 percent in 2018 from the 2005 level, a stride toward the goal of meeting the emission peak in about 2030.
In recent years, China has adhered to the path of giving priority to ecology and green development, said Minister of Ecology and Environment Li Ganjie. "Ecological and environmental protection has become an important force and a key to promoting high-quality economic development."
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