Xi important in Wuzhen's transformation to smart city with history
Xi Jinping, who was secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the CPC from 2002 to 2007, visits Wuzhen to do field research about its development on Aug 3, 2005, as Chen Honghui, then chief of the management committee of Wuzhen protection and tourism development, reports to him. [Photo by Xu Jianrong]
Wuzhen is about to welcome more than 2,000 guests from all over the world attending the 2nd World Internet Conference from Dec 16 to 18.
As a small town, the internet development in Wuzhen is obviously advanced.
Full coverage Wi-Fi, QR code, mobile online payment method and internet hospital are not just popular concept but practiced in locals' daily life.
While becoming a smart city, Wuzhen hasn't lost its unique traditional culture that history left. Vintage architecture, bridges and watery scenery are well protected and attracting tourists around the world.
Wuzhen is the last town to have its own road to other cities in Tongxiang city. In 1990s, the town is burdened with many lay-offs since factories are closed down.
At then, the town was struggling and needed a solution.
Xi Jinping, who was secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the CPC from 2002 to 2007, visited Wuzhen five times in six years to do field research on its development.
Chen Xianghong, then chief of the management committee of Wuzhen protection and tourism development faced a huge challenge then, as many people believed Wuzhen's historical heritage was obsolete and didn't need protecting.
Wuzhen also suffered from a lack of funds for the project, a further obstacle in promoting it as a tourism town.
Xi pointed out tourism is Wuzhen's way-out that requires government to protect this old town as its historical heritage. Also, Xi Jinping promoted cultural development when he visited Wuzhen in 2004.
According to Chen, Xi Jinping came to Wuzhen in the sizzling August of 2005 and did research on construction and sources of funding.
Xi affirmed the idea and encouraged Chen to overcome the challenges and stick to the concept of developing tourism by protecting the historical heritage in Wuzhen.
Chen said the town wouldn't have succeeded in transforming itself this smoothly without Xi's vision and ideas.
The balance among economic development, environment and historical culture protection is crucial to the town, Xi stressed.
Xi Jinping, who was secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the CPC from 2002 to 2007, visits Wuzhen to do field research about its development on Aug 3, 2005. [Photo by Xu Jianrong]
Years later, in 2007, Wuzhen is officially open to the public as a scenic spot for travel, vacation and business conferences.
In 2013, Wuzhen Grand Theater has been built with expenditure of 40 million yuan as a cultural landmark in Wuzhen.
The theater holds Wuzhen International Theatre Festival three times in consecutive years where 750,000 people come to watch over 40 plays in total.
The fast development and the reviving transition of Wuzhen, is a play the town dedicate to the world.