YANQI LAKE: Yanqi Lake, A Beijing suburb is gearing up to host the ‘Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation’ as the local government and residents welcome another opportunity to shine from a high-profile event.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will host the summit at popular tourist spot in Huairou district’s Yanqi Lake area from May 14 to 15. At Xi’s invitation, 28 heads of state and government will attend the forum, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Huairou is a traditional getaway from the city center, with forests and mountains.
The Beijing municipal government is taking measures to strengthen security in the ares. During the summit, vehicles without a forum permit are not allowed to pass certain routes, according to a notice issued by the Beijing Public Security Bureau.
The government chose Yanqi Lake to host the forum partly out of safety concerns, Niu Fengrui, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told.
Compared with the city center, Yanqi Lake has fewer people and buildings, which makes it easier to secure, Niu noted. This also means daily life would not be disrupted, he said.
The government’s website says that as of the end of 2012, the district was home to 389,000 people, one of Beijing’s least dense districts.
Aside from safety concerns, Yanqi lake’s rich natural resources and good environment make it ideal to host big international events, Niu said. Boasting mountains and lakes in Beijing’s northern suburbs, Huairou serves as the city’s ecological conservation and development zone.
Forests cover 53.41 percent of the district, the highest among all Beijing districts. Over 97.1 percent of the district is considered a protected zone for drinking water resources.
Huairou has also hosted other major domestic and international forums and events, including the 5th Beijing International Film Festival in 2015 and especially the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2014.
On November 11, 2014, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was held at the district’s Yanqi Lake International Convention Center.
District governor Chang Wei said in the 2016 government work report that Huairou has become a district that serves the country’s diplomatic activities ever since it successfully hosted the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2014.
“Huairou will focus on the conference and exhibition industry,” Zhang Lichao, head of the conference and exhibition department under Huairou’s commission of commerce, told the Beijing Business in 2015, adding that hosting APEC was just the beginning.
Zhang noted that other industries, such as food and tourism, will be driven by hosting conferences and exhibitions, and “income from these industries will generate nine times the revenue of the conference and exhibition industry,” Zhang added.
According to the district government’s 2015 report, tourism generated 5.49 billion yuan, an increase of 22.4 percent from the previous year.
Huairou residents are also pleased with improvements to infrastructure and business opportunities brought by the high-profile events.
Shan Shuzhi, the owner of a homestay hotel, opened her business after she was informed that Huairou district would be hosting the APEC summit. Her hotel can accommodate 50 people at a time.
Li Xuanyi, a student at the Yanqi campus of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told that his university is now well lit at night “which makes me feel safer.” He also said the development of parks and lakes provides them with more options to spend their leisure time.