Longevity included in 5-year development plan of E. China city

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Increasing life expectancy has long been a goal the human race keeps seeking, now it's written into the economic and social development plan of an east China city.

The city government of Xinyu in Jiangxi Province has worked out a decision to expand local people's average life expectancy to 78 years in 2015 from the 76.4 years in 2010.

The city plans to realize its goal through improving the environment, living standard, social security and public services. It is the first time that such a goal is included in the local government's Five Year Plan (2011-2015), Li Anze, the city's Communist Party chief, said Wednesday.

According to the plan, the city with a population of over 1.1 million also targets a further longevity increase of two years to 80 years during the period from 2018 to 2020. "As people's living standard gets better and they no longer need to worry about food and clothes, living a long, healthy and happy life means more to them than ever," Li said.

"Embedding longer life expectancy into a city's economic and social development plan means that the government is trying to put more efforts in improving people's livelihood and that its approach on governance is obviously changing," said Li Yunqi, vice head of the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinyu City Committee.

Besides Xinyu, some local governments have made people's happiness a top priority in their 12th Five Year Plan, shifting the focus to people's livelihood from rapid economic growth.

Lin Yu, head of the city's development and reform commission, said that longevity depends on the quality of water and air, the safety of food and medicine, as well as a sound social security system.

According to Li Anze, Xinyu had mulled over the subject during the past two years after experts' research and analysis of extending people's life expectancy to 80 years in eight to ten years. Now the city has taken steps to get closer to that goal.

The city had shut down more than 370 polluting plants since last year and the quality of the drinking water was improving, said Zou Jianfu, head of the city's environmental protection bureau.

Meanwhile, the city's health bureau has hired more than 50 medical experts from across the country to help improve its health care system, said Zhou Pinggen, director of the bureau. Adhering to the target in the five-year plan helps carry on the project more systematically, said Li Anze.

In the plan, Xinyu lists target in several factors, such as the environment, emission cuts, food safety, social security and social services, according to Li.

For instance, the city plans to keep the number of good air quality days above 325 per year and environmental noise below 52 dB, and cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 50 percent and sulfur dioxide emission by 12 percent.

"We face a lot of pressure putting longevity in the five-year plan and we can not slack off in our efforts trying to achieve the goal," said Li.

Li adds that the pressure comes from the current evaluation system for local governments and officials, according to which GDP remains the most significant indicator to assess performance.

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