Beijing to roll out administrative sub-center plan

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 29, 2016
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The Beijing municipal government held a press conference last Friday to announce plans to improve the Chinese capital's administrative functions, traffic and air systems.

Officials from Beijing's Development and Reform Commission, Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection, and Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning attended the press conference organized by the city's Information Office to showcase the remarkable changes and plans the city has made in the past two years.

President Xi Jinping inspected city organs two years ago and delivered a keynote speech encouraging them "to build an international first-class, harmonious and habitable metropolis," reported.

Beijing to issue an administrative sub-center plan

"Beijing will build an administrative sub-center no less or no more than that of the [existing] central city level based on the standards for an international first-class, harmonious and habitable metropolis," said Wang Fei, the deputy director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning.

Initial progress had been made on general planning, and more work would be carried out on transport, municipal administration and public services, which would be made public shortly.

Wang said the sub-center would be defined as a pilot area to showcase the mode of an international first-class, harmonious and habitable metropolis, the pilot area for new type urbanization and the pilot area for the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province [surrounding the capital].

The sub-center will be located in Beijing's remote Tongzhou District, Wang said it would be covered by composite utility pipe lines, an ecological forest, and would provide the necessary infrastructure to encourage people to walk, cycle or take public transportation.

The construction of Tongzhou will be coordinated with the development and administration of Beijing's eastern districts such as Shunyi, Pinggu, Daxing and three northern counties of Langfang City, Hebei Province, under the planning of coordinative development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province.

Cutting and removing unneccessary functions

Beijing is efficiently cutting and removing functions that do not support the operation of a capital city.

"On the surface, various issues of Beijing are due to overloaded population, but when you look more deeply, the real problem is there are too many functions the city is required to perform," said Wang Haichen, a senior official from Beijing's Development and Reform Commission. "We have to remove some non-capital-city functions, which will be a good remedy to cure Beijing's 'metropolis illness'."

Wang said the municipal government had published a restricted and forbidden list for new industries. Since 2014, Beijing has rejected 13,000 industrial and commercial registrations. He added Beijing has also used administrative and market powers and provided funding within the past two years to remove 718 enterprises that were considered as major polluters.

The government had also removed 116 commodity trade markets, and upgraded, moved or transformed 104 others. To control agricultural sectors that have high water consumption, Beijing reduced by 31,300 acres of the land for wheat production in 2015 while the pig and chicken raising were also cut.

Wang said the government would also boost connections between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province for coordinated development in such aspects as hospitals, roads, transportation cards and innovative entities.

Beijing building a one-hour city transportation circle

The spokesman of Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport Rong Jun said that, in past two years, Beijing's vehicle population had reached 5.61 million, but this was being offset by construction of more metro train lines.

Rong said Beijing government will enforce the plans to ease Beijing's traffic jams by using legal, economic and other necessary administrative approaches to reduce vehicle usage. By 2020, Beijing will build an express transportation system with 1,000 kilometers of rail transit networks and 1,000 kilometers of bus networks in the inner city.

Then they will form a one-hour city transportation circle consisting of subway, suburban railways, buses and cars with a high quality traffic system. Beijing will also build a quarter-of-an-hour living circle where people can safely, conveniently, comfortably choose to walk and ride bicycles.

Rong also revealed that by 2020, the total road length in Beijing will reach 22,200 kilometers, with1,200 kilometers of freeways. "In 2020, Beijing will form a green transportation model and will have eased traffic jams and pollution efficiently."

Beijing PM2.5 density decreased by 9.9%

"Beijing government has been focusing on dealing with the particulate matter 2.5 in past two years by controlling the consumption of coal, strict control of vehicles and adjusting industries," said Yu Jianhua, a senior engineer from Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection. All these efforts led to improvement of Beijing's air quality and the PM2.5 density was cut by 9.9 percent compared with 2013.

Many coal burning power plants were closed and the annual coal burning amount was reduced to below 12 million tons.

An emergency plan to tackle serious air pollution was also issued and twice in 2015 a red alert was issued to shut down more than 2,000 enterprises and factories.

Yu said the Beijing environmental protection department also push forward the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province coordinated prevention and control system for dealing with climate change and air pollution.

Wang Fei, the deputy director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning, added the government had established ecological red lines and the boundaries for city expansion. Beijing also developed five first-level ventilation corridors with width of more than 500 meters and a number of second-level ventilation corridors with width of more than 80 meters.

By 2020, Beijing will also build a municipal greenway system of 350 kilometers long as well as a waterfront system of 300 kilometers.

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