Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (5): 691-704.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1750-7

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Beautiful China Initiative: Human-nature harmony theory, evaluation index system and application

FANG Chuanglin1,2, WANG Zhenbo1,2, LIU Haimeng1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-01-09 Accepted:2020-02-18 Online:2020-05-25 Published:2020-07-25
  • About author:Fang Chuanglin (1966–), PhD and Professor, specialized in urban geography, urban ag-glomeration development and urbanization resource and environmental effects. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41590840);Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41590842);The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences;Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road (Pan-TPE)(XDA20040400)


The Beautiful China Initiative (BCI) is a plan for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation as well as for China to fulfill the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Chinese government’s “five-in-one” approach provides strategic arrangements for developing the BCI, and President Xi Jinping proposed a timetable and “road map” for the BCI at the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection. Nevertheless, the theoretical basis, evaluation index system, evaluation criteria and effectiveness of the BCI are currently unclear. This paper begins by exploring the basic content of the BCI from narrow and broad perspectives. It regards the theory of human-nature harmonious coexistence and the five-in-one beauty theory as the core theoretical bases of the BCI and constructs a five-element BCI evaluation index system (ecological environment, green development, social harmony, system perfection and cultural heritage) and utilizes the assessment method of the United Nations’ Human Development Index to assess scientifically the effectiveness of the BCI in 341 prefecture-level cities. The results show the average BCI index (the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beauty Index) score to be 0.28, which is quite low, while the average scores for the individual element indexes of the ecological environment index, green development index, social harmony index, system perfection index and cultural heritage index are 0.6, 0.22, 0.29, 0.22 and 0.07, respectively. All of these are relatively low values, with relatively large discrepancies in regional development, indicating that progress in the BCI is generally slow and unbalanced. To realize the BCI’s timetable and roadmap to a high quality and high standard, it is suggested that a common system for evaluating the progress of the BCI is developed and promulgated so that dynamic monitoring and phased evaluations can take place; BCI technical assessment standards are compiled and published; BCI comprehensive zoning is undertaken; pilot projects adapted to local conditions are launched in BCI sample areas; and BCI results are incorporated into performance indicators at all levels of government.

Key words: Beautiful China Initiative, theoretical basis, theory of human-nature harmonious coexistence, evaluation index system, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beauty Index, evaluation plan