Today marks the second anniversary of the establishment of China's southernmost city — Sansha. The State Council, China's cabinet, officially announced the creation of the new city to strengthen China’s foothold in the South China Sea. Over the past two years, there's been an infrastructure building boom.


Mayor Xiao Jie says they are making Sansha into a sea border city that represents China's sovereignty, and is a beautiful, happy place to live. In the 7th episode of our special series "Looking South", CCTV reporter Han Bin visits the seat of the Sansha City government on Yongxing Island and finds out the direction of its development.


Sansha city might seem a tropical paradise.


But for people living on the islands, fresh water has always been their top concern.


The government is trying to change the situation.


Han said, "Here on Yongxing Island, the temperature is above 30 degrees Celsius all year round, and there's salt everywhere. Once, fresh water had to be shipped in or collected from the rain. That's no longer the case, thanks to this desalination system."



This plant processes some 400 cubic meters of sea water a day for Yongxing.


And under construction is a desalinator with a daily capacity of 1,000 cubic meters.


Chen Rufeng, Deputy Director of Sansha City Construction Bureau, said, "In the past, we used to transport all fresh water from coastal cities in Hainan province, but the transport cost was so high. Now, with the desalination plants on the island, the final cost of processing one cubic meter of sea water is just around 23 yuan, or about 4 US dollars."


The Sansha government plans to stop using ground water by the end of next year, to maintain the eco-balance.


From the day the city was established, construction has been intense. The government's promise became the motto: "delay not a single day."


Han said, "This is Sansha's main thoroughfare, Beijing Road. Over the past two years, basic infrastructure has been put into place — a government hall, super markets, a hospital, a bank and even a post office, are all along this road. In Chinese, Yongxing means eternal prosperity, and residents are determined the tiny island will live up to its name."


Yongxing covers just over two square kilometers. But it's turning into a real city. Residents can buy food and other goods at this supermarket. The prices are about the same as elsewhere in China.


There's a sense of purpose in the people who come to live on this remote island.


Wang Chunyan came here when Sansha was established.


She said, "I don't feel lonely coming to work on Yongxing. There're more customers now. It's really meaningful."


In the 2014 work report delivered in March to the Sansha People's Congress, the local legislative body, the city's government officials pledged to speed up building key infrastructures to create a city of harmony between man and nature.


Deputy Mayor Zhang Geng explains Sansha's blueprint for breaking the bottleneck to sustainable development.


Zhang said, "At present, all of Sansha's construction projects are government funded. We need the government's continued support, yet we are intending to save the government's money through the development of Sansha's own economy, like marine fishing, tourism, oil exploitation and many other forms of economic activities."


Much is riding on Sansha's success in becoming a model for development…


For the city itself…


And for the future of the country's other islands in the South China Sea.




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