Reporter's log: Why all-go Fujian's journey is as smooth as silk
"We want you to go to Fujian."
That's what my boss told me a few weeks ago. So, southern China weather packaged with a celebrated cuisine against the backdrop of forested mountains that meet the sea. That can't be too hard, I thought. I was wrong.
But first, let me tell you about the good parts of a tour themed A Date with China – Meet Fujian. I was traveling with dozens of fellow media workers from China and overseas on a visit that wrapped up a few days ago. We saw gleaming cities whose towers are punching the sky in a testament to their ambitions. But these cities are just as proud of their historical and cultural riches and are keen to share them with visitors.
Our last stop was Quanzhou, the starting point for the Maritime Silk Road that brought the city prosperity in its role shipping the prized commodity to the Middle East– becoming China's busiest port by the 13th century. In the era of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – as set out by President Xi Jinping in 2013 alongside his vision for the Silk Road Economic Belt – Quanzhou has hardly skipped a beat in the transition. Its economy reached 1.02 trillion yuan in 2020; and in 1978, it was just 779 million yuan, according to the city's statistics bureau.
The story of inexorable progress is mirrored in Fuzhou, the provincial capital in the east. First impressions count. On the flight from Beijing the lower we dropped on our approach, the deeper and richer it became – the wash of green beyond my window. Low, heavy clouds hovered over the tops of the ranges. Then, as if for my benefit at the opposite end of the plane, the pilot cut a wide arc that opened up a panorama of a green-fringed beach before the aircraft banked sharply – close enough to watch the breakers roll into the shore. My "Meet Fujian" moment came before touchdown.