Why silver?

Rising from the mines, falling from the mines

Among the approximately 300 prefecture-level cities in China, Baiyin is not very famous.

This small city, located in the arid region of central Gansu Province in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, has a resident population of 1.51 million, according to the Seventh Plan. It once rose because of copper mines, and became one of the first cities in the country to be transformed from resource depletion, facing a transition dilemma.

Folk singer Zhang Weiwei recalls his hometown Baiyin, which is known nationwide for its “psychopathic serial murders”, and the previous Baiyin student murder case at Sichuan Normal University, which instantly linked Baiyin to the “depression of a small industrial city”, “psychopathic madness” and “homicidal mania”.

The “Baiyin serial murders” are the main impression that many people have of the city.

Between May 1988 and February 2002, 11 women were brutally murdered in their homes in the city of Baiyin, and some of the victims had been sexually assaulted. It was not until August 2016, 28 years after the first murder, that the killer, Gao Chengyong, was apprehended. in January 2019, Gao was executed.

The small city in transition has taken cultural tourism as its direction in an attempt to establish a new city card.

At 9 a.m. on May 22, the fourth Yellow River Stone Forest Mountain Marathon 100 km cross-country race started at 9 a.m. in Jingtai County under the jurisdiction of Baiyin City, and eventually developed into an official notification of a public safety incident due to sudden changes in local weather. 21 people were tragically killed, and they neither ran to the finish line nor could they return to the starting point.

Behind the natural disaster, there is no man-made disaster? There is no definite conclusion so far.

And the discussion about the city of Baiyin has gone to extremes because of these two public incidents.

First there was the silver factory, then there was the city of silver
Baiyin has a long history, with humans flourishing here more than 5,000 years ago. According to “Baiyin City Records”, after the Western Han Dynasty, three counties, including Zu Li, were established in the territory, which was the beginning of the establishment of counties in the Baiyin area.

During the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty, non-ferrous metal mining began in Baiyin City, and the official “Baiyin Factory” was set up here, from which the name “Baiyin” was derived.

In fact, as the only city named after a precious metal in China, Baiyin City did not produce silver in abundance.

After the exploration of the silver plant in 1951, it was confirmed to be one of the largest copper mines in China and was listed as a key construction project in the “First Five-Year Plan”. Therefore, Baiyin has an alias, “Copper City”.

Baiyin was a city set up for resource mining and factory operation. This was not uncommon in the country at that time, as was also the case in Yumen and Jinchang in Gansu.

The original factory, the “Baiyin Non-Ferrous Metals Company”, was the “Baiyin Company” that every Baiyin person was proud of.

Why silver?

Baiyin Company workers going to work by steam train

In February 1956, Baiyin moved to Haojiachuan, Gaolan County, where downtown Baiyin City is today. In that year, the company conducted three major mining blasts on such a scale that Western countries thought we were conducting nuclear tests.

The year the company moved to Baiyin, the county-level city of Baiyin was established and was upgraded to a prefecture-level city in 1958. In the heyday of Baiyin, local workers did not even say they were “Baiyin people”, but called themselves “Baiyin Company’s”.

It is also true that most of them were not indigenous to Baiyin, but migrated here purely because of the construction of the company, and became the “mining generation” of Baiyin. Therefore, Baiyin is also a typical immigrant city. The young people in Baiyin often hear their elders tell how they left their hometowns and came to the northwest to support the construction of their country.

Although Baiyin had created a glorious performance of copper production and output value for 18 consecutive years as the first in the same industry in China, and had made great contributions to domestic construction, the name of “Copper City” was far less famous than “the place where the serial murders were committed”, and this label lingered and made Baiyin The young people of Baiyin felt depressed.

One day in May 1988, Gao Chengyong, then 24 years old, killed a 23-year-old girl who was a “second-generation miner” of Baiyin Company and was called “Little White Shoes” by her fellow workers because she liked to wear white sneakers. From this day on, the devil descended on Silver, which was at the end of its glory.

In 1989, Baiyin became the second largest industrial city in Gansu after Lanzhou, but the peak was short-lived.

Seven years later the Baiyin company company restructured and reformed, stopping recruitment and eliminating graduation assignments. This was also a side-show to the wave of layoffs in some enterprises in the 1990s at the time.

Silver was in turmoil and the devil was crazy. By 1997, Gao Chengyong had killed four women, and in 1998 alone, he committed four crimes. At this point, the people of Baiyin, who were already confused about the future, were plunged into a climate of terror.

In 2002, after the eleventh murder, Gao Chengyong stopped, but the decline of Silver continued, and in 2004, Silver declared bankruptcy. The mining generation stayed in Silver, and the younger people moved away from Silver to find their own lives. Silver was no longer a hot scene and became twilight. That year, for the first time, the Baiyin police released the details of the “serial murder case” to the outside world, qualifying it as a “sexually deviant murder case”.

It was not until 2016 that the Baiyin police caught Gao Chengyong in a kiosk at the Baiyin City Industrial School. In the era of developed Internet, “Baiyin murder past” spread to the north and south of the country.

Gao Chengyong is not a native of Baiyin, but this does not prevent the outside world from equating the psychopathic killer with the depressing industrial town, which has become a label that Baiyin can’t erase from the outside world, bringing more shadows to the city in transition.

Resource-depleted city turns to tourism
Rise in the mines, lose in the mines.

In March 2008, 12 cities in China were included in the list of the first batch of resource-depleted cities in the country, and Baiyin occupied one seat.

The other 11 cities are Jiaozuo in Henan, Pingxiang in Jiangxi, Daye in Hubei, Baishan in Jilin, Jielao in Yunnan, Fuxin in Liaoning, Yichun in Heilongjiang, Liaoyuan in Jilin, Panjin in Liaoning, Shizuishan in Ningxia and Daxinganling in Heilongjiang. half of the 12 cities are in the old industrial region of Northeast China.

A person from Baiyin once wrote an article recalling that for a city with mineral resources as its main economic pillar, resource depletion should have been a desperate disaster, but to his surprise, at that time, in the streets and lanes of Baiyin, TV and newspapers, “the first batch of resource depletion cities in China” was advertised with a fiery red color logo, as if it was a great honor. The city was promoted with a red color logo, as if it had won a great honor.

In July 2009, Gansu authorities issued a notice on the transformation program of Baiyin City, a city with depleted resources. Regarding the urgency of the city’s transformation, the notice stated outright that Baiyin had formed a large number of historical debts under the long-term planned economic system, and was facing not only the problems commonly encountered in resource-based cities, but also many imminent economic and social problems.

Baiyin economic transformation on the main task is to cultivate “eight pillar industries”, including the Yellow River cultural tourism industry, and the Yellow River stone forest is the most important.

Why silver?

Yongtai Turtle City, Jingtai County, Baiyin City

In 2000, the Yellow River Stone Forest scenic area began to organize development, and in 2004 the Ministry of Land and Resources officially approved the award of the license as a national geological park, and in November 2007 it was named a national 4A-level scenic spot, but on the road to impact 5A, the Yellow River Stone Forest does not seem to be going smoothly.

According to public reports, in 2015, the relevant parties in Baiyin City said they would ensure that it would be upgraded to a national 5A scenic spot by 2018. However, by 2018, the upgrade to 5A was pushed back to 2020.

In 2018, Baiyin Municipal Party Committee Secretary Su Jun wrote an article “Thinking about the conversion of old and new dynamics in Baiyin City in the new era”, proposing to grasp six aspects of the dynamics of conversion, the first aspect is “from relying on mountains to eat mountains to relying on water to eat water”. This “water”, refers to the Yellow River.

In 2019, Su Jun in a talk about the development of cultural tourism industry, and put forward “the cultural tourism industry into the transformation of the development of the pillar industry in Baiyin”. 2020 has passed, the Yellow River stone forest still has not become a national 5A scenic spot.

In March 2021, Gansu Province, the relevant parties said that the Yellow River Stone Forest scenic area to create a national 5A tourist attractions into the province’s cultural tourism industry, the main direction of high-quality development, the goal is to list 5A at the end of the year.

On May 22, 21 lives fell in the Yellow River Stone Forest, Baiyin City to achieve a zero breakthrough in 5A scenic spots also added variables.

Baiyin Municipal Party Committee Secretary Su Jun has said that, although the cultural tourism resources of Baiyin is rich and unique, but still “in the deep boudoir people do not know”, publicity and promotion for the development of cultural tourism industry in Baiyin is vital.

The label of “serial killer” has not been torn off, and the occurrence of “Baiyin cross-country race tragedy” has cast a shadow on Baiyin’s desire to try to rely on cultural tourism to prosper.

The epitome of a small city of the fourth and fifth tier
The time is also fate.

“When there was a mine at home, Baiyin rose and flourished for a while because of the call of the times. When the resources dried up, silver fell silent in the era of reform and opening up.

And silver is only a microcosm of the decline of many small fourth- and fifth-tier cities.

From the national point of view, the top capital, talent and other resources to the first-tier cities; from the provincial region, strong provincial capital path, as well as the original developed cities to form a strong siphon effect on the surrounding small cities.

The population determines the vitality of the city to a certain extent. And Baiyin, like many small cities in China, faces the dilemma of talent loss. The data of Seventh Poo shows that the resident population of this small city is 1.512 million in 2020, compared with 1.709 million in 2010, the resident population is reduced by 197,000.

Why silver?

Silver City

More unfortunately, most small cities do not have a strong economic foundation, especially resource-based cities face many historical debts. The economic foundation determines the superstructure, the local social structure is more solidified, the level of urban governance is correspondingly limited, the service consciousness, and the ability to respond in public safety incidents all have gaps with developed areas, and are more likely to be trapped in a vicious circle.

Over the years, small, obscure and marginal cities have explored various paths in order to attract more people and resources.

Many regions have tried to take the cultural tourism route. The former Dushan County in Guizhou, through the government underwriting large-scale investment, investment, blind borrowing nearly 200 million yuan to create “the world’s first water division building” ” the world’s highest glazed ceramic building ” and other image projects, but too eager for quick success, did not attract the flow of people, but Dushan County has fallen into a situation of rotting and high debt.

Later on, some small cities have become popular on short video platforms and have become what people refer to as “netroots cities”. For example, the dark-skinned, clear-eyed Tibetan boy Ding Zhen, with a smile on his face, made Litang in Sichuan burst into flames, and the local authorities took advantage of the situation to promote Litang’s tourism resources. The talk show star Li Xueqin’s phrase “The end of the universe is Tieling” has made this small city in the northeast popular again in the Internet era.

In recent times, Cao County has suddenly become popular because of the short video, although the Internet is full of flirtation with Cao County, but it has really stimulated the curiosity of the majority of netizens about Cao County, the original coffin industry is very developed, or the domestic “Hanfu town”.

The network’s popularity, so these small towns briefly back to the public eye, a period of time the local tourism industry popularity explosion, but Cao County, Litang, Tieling’s popularity can not be replicated, more alert to how to make the “net red” to “long red”, is the dilemma facing these small cities. The dilemma faced by these small towns.

The most critical thing behind it is probably the local resources and genes to have sustainable red.

For Baiyin, “serial killings,” “Baiyin cross-country tragedy,” have become the city can not get around the hurdle, in the city’s transformation, how to reverse the outside world formed the inherent impression, more need to think about the local rulers, pay.

However, local officials are not without efforts to change the image, “silver cross-country race tragedy” after the occurrence of the media reported that local officials held an emergency meeting in the early morning, hoping that shepherds do not say the words of the local frequent such weather, eager to change the status quo ideas can be seen, but deviated from the truth of the effort, often the opposite.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/why-silver/
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