China has selected southwestern Chongqing and Chengdu as pilot
reform cities targeting coordinated rural and urban development
through reforms in all sectors, official sources said on
A document issued by the National Development and Reform
Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, urged the
two cities to take the initiatives in pushing forward comprehensive
reforms in order to achieve coordinated and balanced development
between urban and rural areas.
The NDRC also asked the two cities to lay out their detailed
plans for the experimental areas as soon as possible.
The State Council, or the cabinet, has approved the
establishment of the pilot reform cities, it said.
"The selection of the two pilot cities is necessary for us to
explore a coordinated urban and rural development model in central
and western China," said Yang Weimin, an official with the
"The final aim of coordinated rural and urban development is to
make rural farmers and migrant workers able to enjoy the same
rights, public services and living conditions as urban residents
do," Yang said.
They are just two more pilot reform cities following southern
Shenzhen, eastern Shanghai's Pudong New Area and northern Tianjin's
Binhai New Area.
China has seen rapid economic growth since it began the reform
and opening up policies in 1978, but a wide income gap between
rural and urban areas also arises.
The per capita net income of Chinese farmers was 3,587 yuan
(US$471) last year, while the per capita disposable income of urban
residents was 11,759 yuan, about 3.2 times that of farmers.
As two major cities in western China, Chongqing has a population
of 31 million, 80 percent of whom are in rural areas, while Chengdu
has 11 million people, including a six-million rural
In Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, per capita net income
of farmers was 4,905 yuan (US$645), while that of urban residents
was 2.6 times that of farmers.
The two pilot cities have pledged to carry out reforms in such
areas as household registration systems, land management, social
security and government administration.
(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2007)