GT Voice: Baihetan hydropower project highlights China’s infrastructure miracles
The photo taken on May 28, 2021 shows the Baihetan hydroelectric power station in southwest China’s Yunnan province. Photo: CFP
The Baihetan hydropower plant in southwestern China began operating its first two production units on Monday. The project broke a series of world records, including the largest underground caverns, the largest earthquake-resistant parameters of a 300-meter-high dam, and the largest spillway caverns.
The Baihetan hydropower plant marks a new milestone in the construction of infrastructure in China, which has continued to break new records in recent years, garnering the attention and interest of the rest of the world.
Over the past decades, many groundbreaking infrastructure projects have been completed in China, from the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world’s tallest and longest railway built on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, to the project from the Three Gorges, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest sea bridge, all of which reflect China’s strength in building infrastructure.
Thanks to the impressive development of infrastructure, the Chinese economy has experienced a period of unprecedented growth. China’s GDP, which topped 100,000 billion yuan ($ 15.5 trillion) for the first time in 2020, has grown 189-fold in the past 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
However, many in the West still hold such views that China’s model of economic growth, driven in part by infrastructure investments, is flawed or unsustainable.
Yet the reason the Chinese economy continues to perform miracles is precisely because it has taken a path that suits its own national conditions, rather than blindly following Western theory. China’s progress in infrastructure development has played an important role in boosting the regional economy and promoting high-quality development throughout the country.
For most Western countries, while the economic boom in infrastructure investment is well understood, their governments are often less motivated to invest on a large scale in this area due to various difficulties and obstacles. Even for the United States, a massive infrastructure program is no easy task.
Last week, US President Joe Biden reached a compromise on a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure plan with a group of bipartisan senators. The scale of investments has decreased significantly from the original grand plan price, highlighting uncertainties in fundraising and implementation.
To some extent, the challenges that lead to uncertainty over whether the infrastructure plan could lift the US economy out of its current quagmire is a microcosm of the West’s ambivalent attitude to investing big in projects. infrastructure.
These developments highlight the differences between the Chinese model and the Western model in terms of infrastructure. In fact, there is no need to compare with each other because China’s infrastructure achievements are based on its own economic uniqueness. In the past, China has moved forward with its own construction of infrastructure according to its own national conditions, and the future will be no exception. Such a growth dynamic requires better understanding and recognition from the rest of the world.