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Cablegate: Pacing Development in Sanya, Hainan Province

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DE RUEHGZ #2097 3060926
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020926Z NOV 06
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5268
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 032097

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM
USDOC FOR 4410/ITA/MAC/MCQUEEN
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON SENV CH
SUBJECT: PACING DEVELOPMENT IN SANYA, HAINAN PROVINCE


(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (U) SUMMARY: In a wide-ranging discussion of Sanya's development
policies during an October 9 meeting with the Consul General,
representatives of Sanya's municipal Foreign Affairs Office, the
Environmental Protection Bureau, and Tourism Bureau discussed the
city's balanced approach to development, which limits the inflow of
polluting enterprises and seeks to capitalize on the island's
natural comparative advantages to attract tourist revenue. END
SUMMARY.

BALANCING PRIORITIES
--------------------

2. (U) Li Jian Jun, Deputy Director General of the Sanya
Environmental Protection Bureau, told the CG economic development
and environmental protection are inseparable. According to Li, the
three principles guiding municipal planning and development are:
-- a zero tolerance policy for polluting enterprises;
-- no destruction of natural resources; and
-- no redundant construction or investment.
Li said that Sanya's authorities have successfully applied these
principles to smooth out the pace of development, thereby avoiding a
no-holds-barred approach and protecting the island's largest source
of income, its environment.

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3. (U) Municipal authorities appear to be heeding lessons learned in
the late 1990's when over-investment gave rise to real estate
bubbles which resulted in stalled-out, and sometimes abandoned,
development projects. The massive building shells that still tower
over static construction sites in other parts of South China -
indicative of continuing redundancy and over-investment - appear to
be a rarity in and around Sanya today. Hainan Province has become a
leading example of sustainable development in line with natural
comparative advantages, and authorities in Sanya proudly tout their
city and Hainan Province as the first place in China to limit the
inflow of polluting enterprises to preserve the natural environment.


COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGES: SAFETY AND MINORITY CULTURE
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) Zhou Chun Hua, Deputy Director General of the Sanya Tourism
Bureau, responding to a question about competition with South East
Asian countries for tourist dollars, asserted that Hainan's minority
cultures certainly merit preservation due to their own intrinsic
value, but pointed out that the minorities also are an important
economic asset. Ms. Zhou said that Sanya's and Hainan's safety -
relative to South East Asia, where crime, political instability,
natural disasters, and terrorist threats are common - gives the city
an important comparative advantage.

5. (U) She then outlined five specific measures that provincial and
municipal authorities designed to achieve this goal:
-- recognizing minority holidays and encouraging culturally-specific
dress;
-- designing a system of college admissions standards favorable to
minorities;
-- allowing minorities to have more than one child;
-- building modern homes for minority members who agree to relocate
from areas slated to be developed for tourism; and
-- assigning individual work units within government agencies to
carry out development initiatives in minority villages.

COMMENT
-------

6. (U) While the treatment of minorities in Sanya, particularly with
regard to government relocation programs, requires further
investigation, several locals independently confirmed to Congenoffs
that area minorities are generally satisfied with their lot, and are
particularly satisfied with the grants and housing the government
provides them. Many of them choose to leave their farms and move
into urban centers to start businesses or work in the tourism
industry. At the very least, city and provincial authorities appear
to be paying more than just lip service to protecting the well-being
of their minority citizens.

GOLDBERG

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