Giving the 'high five' to progress
CHINA’S future development, encapsulated in a “five-in-one” formula, was reaffirmed at the recently concluded 19th National Con-gress of the Chinese Communist Party. The nation will strive to improve political, economic, cul-tural, social and ecological development. Jing’an’s commitment to play its part in that process comes amid its recognized success in implementing positive changes. We look at some of those achievements weighed against the five national goals.
Political progress: rule by law
Fumin is one of the grassroots legal services centers in Jing’an neighborhoods that assist residents in handling grievances.
Fumin, which literally means “happy people,” is tucked away in an old residential complex at 651 Weihai Road. Every year since its founding in 2013, the center has handled an average of 1,000 requests for help.
Petitioners include senior citizens, migrant workers and even wealthy entities like shopping malls. Every day from Monday to Friday, volunteer lawyers sit in the centers to dispense free legal advice and provide mediation services.
“Some people don’t know where to go for help or can’t afford expensive law firms, so they turn to us,” said lawyer Zhang Hao, noting that peaceful resolution of dispute prevents problems from turning ugly.
Economy: industry upgrading
Shibei High Technology Park is a prime example of how traditional smokestack industries in old Zhabei have been converted into clean, innovative businesses.
Over the years, factories have moved out, replaced by modern business and residential complexes that are people-pleasing and eco-friendly.
Beginning in 2010, Shibei embraced the global digital revolution, transforming itself into an information technology hub. It is now home to the Shanghai Data Exchange, China’s leading big data center, which can handle an average 30 million pieces of data every day.
Cultural activity: at the doorstop
Though retired, Li Changshun is busier than ever. He leads a chorus of 90 retirees, spending most of his time on rehearsals and show organizing. The Xinfukangli neighborhood serves as the home venue for the singing group.
“We don’t have to worry about food or shelter,” Li said. “What we want is rich cultural services at our doorstep, creating a spiritual life that brings joy to the whole community.”
A newly renovated cultural center in the neighborhood also hosts activities such as knitting bees and a health management team.
“We gather here frequently to sing, socialize, read and have parties,” Li said.
Since last year, about 10 old disused neighborhood sites have been upgraded to community cultural centers.
Social conscience: helping seniors
Downtown Jing’an, dotted with old residential complexes, has 326,500 residents 60 years or older, accounting for nearly 35 percent of the district’s population. They are not a forgotten group.
The district has built neighborhood nursing facilities that offer services like day care, short-term respite care, and free in-home services like therapeutic massages, haircuts and housekeeping.
Many of those services are provided by professional social organizations, and the idea is popular with senior citizens.
The environment: creating harmony
Qian Maifang, 60, belongs to a group of retired women that has volunteered to help keep the Xujiazhai River clean and tidy.
Come rain or shine, they are out picking up trash and reporting illegal dumping to authorities.
“In the past, the riverbank was jammed with illegal structures and polluting factory workshops. The waterway was black and stinky,” Qian said.
Both the waterway and riverbank are now cleaned up. Flower boxes and a walkway adorn the riverbank. It’s a popular place for daily walks or socializing with friends.
Jing’an has 12 rivers and waterways, stretching nearly 28 kilometers. An extensive cleanup campaign is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, turning riverbanks into greenbelts, promenades and parkland, and creating places of harmony between man and nature.