A few months ago, the Chinese government unveiled plans to convert Hebei province into an environmentally friendly business haven, sheltering at least 2.5 million people. Dubbed the Xiongan New Area, the smart city is intended to operate as a new growth pole for the country’s economy and also aims to curb urban sprawl, bridge growth disparities and protect ecology.

In preparation for the urban makeover, the Chinese government is giving thousands of Xiongan farmers free training classes to help them adapt to the changes they’re about to experience in the city.

More than 2,000 farmers have been trained since the beginning of August, and the government is attempting to educate around 10,000 farmers by the end of 2017. The farmers are acquiring the necessary skills to pursue vocational careers and start businesses, and they are also partaking in nursing classes where they learn about pregnancy diets, among other things.

As for cultivating Chinese traditions, the farmers are being taught how to soak, prepare and even drink tea. Chinese tea art is very unique; it is considered as a sign of respect and, in certain situations, a way to apologize. It is also used to show gratitude during family gatherings and weddings.

Located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of central Beijing, the Xiongan New Area is a part of several measures to both integrate the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei development and find solutions for traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital. It is home to Baiyang Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in northern China, and covers the counties of Xiongan, Rongcheng and Anxin.

The Xiongan New Area is purposed to be a world-class, green, and modern smart city with a scenic ecology that will provide fresh air — which is urgently needed, given the issue of smog in the Chinese capital, which several initiatives have been trying to alleviate. China has high hopes that the Xiongan New Area will be home to high-end, innovative industries that will offer quality public services like fast, efficient and green transportation networks.

By pushing for structural and institutional reforms, the communist government wants to open up to the outside world and become a new beacon for foreign cooperation. The mega-project is being funded by a $19 billion loan from the China Development Bank; however, the costs are projected to top $290 billion in 15 years.

 

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