Suzhou has been conferred the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, the third such winner following cities of Bilbao in Spain and New York in the United States.
The biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is an international award established by the Singapore government to honour outstanding achievements and contributions that lead to the creation of livable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world.
On June 2, Suzhou mayor Zhou Naixiang received the prize from Singapore president Tony Tan Keng Yam at the award ceremony during the World Cities Summit in Singapore.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Zhou thanked all of his friends at home and around the world for their concern for and support of the development of Suzhou and said that the award is the best affirmation of the efforts made by the people of Suzhou in striving for excellence in urban planning and development.
In the afternoon the same day, Mr Zhou attended a tree-planting ceremony in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Sino-Singapore cooperation and toured Gardens by the Bay, Singapore's biggest urban garden project. He presented a photo album, entitled "Beautiful Suzhou", which specially created for the summit to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong prior to the opening ceremony.
The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a highlight of the World Cities Summit in Singapore.
Congratulating Suzhou on winning the award, Prime Minister Lee noted that Suzhou has achieved its remarkable economic prosperity on the basis of great achievements made by Suzhou Industrial Park, while managing to preserve its iconic cultural and historic heritage, citing as an illustration Pingjiang Road, a landmark protected street in Suzhou.
Mr Zhou said that Suzhou has been always dedicated to preserving its history yet at the same time creating a thoroughly modern city by paying attention to both its cultural legacy and to creative innovations, to both the city's economic development and to its eco-environment, and to both the commercial and the human elements that constitute a city, resulting a fusion of ancient and modern features and a cultural DNA based on learning from achievements of Suzhou's residents of yore, while not being constrained by tradition. The city is writing a new chapter of cooperation to achieve a win-win situation based on openness and inclusiveness.
Mr Zhou said the award is not only a strong message of encouragement but also a timely reminder of the work that still needs to be done.
Suzhou will continue to learn from Singapore's prescience in thinking and successful experience, as well as from other successful urban experiments around the world in an effort to build an even more livable city while creating an inviting environment for anyone who wants to call Suzhou their new home.