Local witness great changes and new development in Sansha
Huang Jie has been making good money with his increasingly crowded restaurant in Sansha of south China's Hainan Province since this prefecture was set up two years ago.
Referred to as Sansha City, it encompasses a number of South China Sea islands on which conditions have improved markedly thanks to much investment since July 24, 2012.
"More visitors are coming to the island. Deep-sea fish are best sellers," said Huang, who has lived for 10 years on Yongxing Island, now Sansha's government seat.
Like Huang, many fishermen have benefited from the fast development of Sansha. Two years of bustling construction on the scattered islands has made Sansha City a better home.
To better manage its territories, China officially established Sansha to administer about two million square kilometers of islands, coastal areas and territorial waters in the South China Sea.
On the two-square-km Yongxing Island, the busiest Beijing Road runs in front of the Sansha government hall.
"It was a quiet street when I first came to the island five years ago. There were not so many places to eat or to buy necessities. But now, the street basically offers all I need," said Dai Shidong, a technician working on a nearby construction project.
Most of Sansha's islands are more than 100 nautical miles away from Hainan Island. To tackle the lack of easy transportation, Sansha doubled the frequency of shuttle ship services to four round trips a month, helping the local economy to thrive.
And a new ship with a displacement of of 8,100 tonnes, nearly three times that of the current ship, will be delivered by the end of this year, according to the Sansha government.
Four sets of desalinators have been installed on Yongxing, providing 200 tonnes of water each day.
Yongxing, the biggest island in Sansha, mainly relies on gasoline and solar power for electricity. Photovoltaic equipment meets the needs of many of the smaller islands.
Office building construction projects on Yongxing and the neighboring Zhaoshu Islands are due to be complete within 2014, and so are projects designed to house officials and fishermen.
Yongxing Island is becoming a real city. A military airport, sea ports, a hospital, a post office, an observatory, a primary school, banks and coffee houses will be finished next year.
"The construction will speed up," said Sansha mayor Xiao Jie.
Sansha's construction boom has attracted people and driven up demand for fish.
To buoy the local economy, the prefecture has adopted favorable land and fiscal measures to attract investment. Eying the islands' rich fishery resources, Lin Rujiang, owner of Sansha Kaida Fishing Co., registered his business in Sansha.
"Strong government support for fishing and fish breeding industries will help the local economy expand," Lin said.
More than 60 companies are operating in Sansha, covering finance, logistics, entertainment, agriculture and fishery.
At the end of year, Sansha collected two million yuan (320,000 U.S. dollars) of taxes. The figure reached about five million in the first half of 2014, according to Tan Hongcai, head of the Sansha municipal industry and commerce administration.
"We will make full use of Sansha's advantages in tourism and develop the sector in a way that is compatible with the environment," vowed Feng Wenhai, vice mayor of Sansha.
The prefecture has been developing cruise tourism since last year.
"I was born a fisherman. I know every stone in the South China Sea, and I've never thought of leaving," said Qiu Ning, a fishermen living on Zhaoshu Island.
Qiu's family have been fishermen here for generations. His 16-year-old son left school this year and became a fisherman.
"The living conditions here are not as favorable as on the Hainan mainland. But great changes are taking place, making Sansha a better place each day," said Qiu, one of more than 1,000 fishermen who call Sansha home.
People of lots of professions are being attracted to Sansha. Xie Qili came to work as a saleswoman at a fruit store on Yongxing Island from the Hainan island half a year ago.
He finds life in Sansha pleasantly different.
"Life is very simple here. I have never seen such a beautiful place," Xie said. "My kid can join me here when the primary school opens. I can make Sansha my new home."
SOURCE: Xin Hua
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