Pingtan in September is featured with a sea breeze and luxuriant gardens. On Longwangtou Haiyu Square, floods of tourists stroll between the blue sea and the beach. “It’s the best season to travel in Pingtan. The temperature is just right, and there are no high levels of wind or rain. You can swim in the sea and walk on the beach,” said Wu Jiehua, deputy director of the Pingtan Tourism Development Commission. In 2014, General Secretary Xi Jinping visited the island and gave important instructions regarding the economic reform of islands in the sea. In August of 2016, the State Council approved the implementation of the Construction Plan for Pingtan as an International Tourism-Friendly Island, and ever since, Pingtan has been on a new path toward the development of its tourism industry.
On any map of Fujian, the shape of Pingtan looks like Kylin running on the waves of the East China Sea. Due to topographic influence, China’s fifth largest island has strong monsoon weather throughout the year, which has led to it being described by the local people as a place that “only grows stones and never grass, with wind and sand spreading all about!”
In 2011, Pingtan saw an important node in its economic and social development. That year, “accelerating the opening up and development of Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone” was written into the outline of the national “12th Five-year Plan”. In November, the State Council approved the General Development Plan for the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, and the economic reform of Pingtan was officially elevated to a national strategy.
At the Command Center of Pingtan Intelligent Island, Zhang Zhaomin, secretary of the Party Working Committee of Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone and director of the Management Committee of the Fujian, China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Pingtan, told me that in recent years, Pingtan has made use of its triple advantage as the only “experiment zone + free trade zone + international tourism island” in China and has made it its duty to pursue the national goal of “building a common home for compatriots on both sides of the strait”, having accomplished the basic development and construction necessary to get things ready for economic reform by 2015, a goal set by the State Council. Pingtan has seen great improvement in comprehensive strength, the continuous improvement of infrastructure, the accelerated gathering of characteristic industries, and the significant enhancement of the people’s livelihoods.
Without “Pingtan blue”, we cannot build a tourism-friendly island. Pingtan will make “Pingtan blue” a gold signboard, a new business card of sorts for Pingtan tourism. Pingtan’s comprehensive air quality index has been better than those of other cities within Fujian Province, and the proportion of the number of days with up-to-standard air quality has been 100% for many years.
In Pingtan, you can watch the sunrise in the morning and listen to the waves in the evening. You can farm while listening to the sweet sound of beautiful songbirds. Here, you can live an envied life that many city dwellers may never experience. The stone villages, which are built mainly with granite, are stone house communities that were built by ancient Pingtan people and have stood there for several hundred years. There are currently 44,000 such stone houses, which are called living fossils of Pingtan’s dwelling culture, and some 170 out of 203 stone villages are well preserved.
Pingtan has seized the opportunities for development. By implementing General Secretary Xi’s instructions, great progress has been made in the construction of the Pingtan International Tourism-Friendly Island. Today, in line with the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping, Pingtan’s people are deepening the island’s reform and promoting tourism development there. The sail has been set for Pingtan, and now, the wind is blowing.