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Infrastructure Construction
Infrastructure construction plays a key role in developing national economy, increasing the standard of people's material and cultural life, and strengthening the national defense. Moreover, it is significant for enhancing and reinforcing the foundation of materials and technology. Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949,China has carried out large-scale well-planned and organized infrastructure construction, which has been the cornerstone of Chinese national economy as well as social progress.

In the 1950s, on the frail economic basis and with limited financial resources, China focused on 156 capital construction projects in metallurgy, machinery, automobile, coal, electricity, and military industry, and laid the basic foundation for Chinese industry.

From the 1960s to the 1970s and after overcoming numerous difficulties, China concentrated manpower and material resources on infrastructure construction, including the Daqing Oilfield, Panzhihua iron and steel industrial base, Wuhan 1.7-meter Rolling Mill, Liujia Gorge Hydropower Station, Hubei Second Automotive Works, Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway and Chengdu-Kunming Railway. All these projects have tremendously promoted China's production capacity of major industrial products, improved the industrial setup and established key communications and transportation networks.

The reform in the 1980s brought about the fastest development to the Chinese infrastructure construction. The government arranged more than 300 major construction projects and put aside 310 billion yuan of investment. In order to meet the strategic targets by the end of this century, the government has devoted its efforts to the construction of these projects for the promotion of the production of agriculture, energy resources, transportation, raw materials, science and technology. They include the first phase of the world-famous three-shelter belt project in the northeast, north and northwest China, dozens of commodity grain bases, a number of large-sized water conservancy projects, 153 large and medium-sized energy projects such as the Gezhou Dam Hydropower Station and Pingshuo Open Cut Coal Mine, 88 major large and medium-sized raw material projects such as Baoshan Steel Works in Shanghai, three large ethylene works of Daqing, Shandong and Yangtze, Jidong Cement Plant, 125 large and medium-sized transportation and telecommunications projects such as the first phase of the electrified railway line from Datong to Qinhuangdao, Beijng-Wuhan-Guangzhou coaxial cable project, other hi-tech facilities such as positron-electron collision device, negative-ion accelerator, the Yizheng Chemical Fiber Plant in Jiangsu Province, Shaanxi Color Tube Plant, Central Color TV Center and Beijing Library.

In the 1990s, the construction of infrastructure projects has entered a new stage of rapid and steady development. From 1992 to 1996, the investment in fixed assets has increased by 32 percent annually. In 1996 and 1997, the government arranged 131 and 129 major construction projects respectively and put aside 287 billion yuan for them.

According to the industrial policies issued by the State Council, the departments concerned published a series of effective policies and measures. First, the government should focus on the construction of the central and western areas of the country, and increase investment in the basic and pillar industries. The investment in irrigation works, energy resources, transportation and communication, posts and telecommunications, essential raw materials, machinery, electronics, automobile and petrochemical industrial projects should account for 60 percent of the total of the state-owned organizations. Secondly, the government will give superiority in fund distribution, materials supply, railway transportation, electric power supply, equipment manufacture, requisition of land and demolition and relocation in order to speed the construction of these projects. Thirdly, the government should set up a special fund. From 1992 to 1996, about 600 billion yuan were collected which powerfully promoted the development of the infrastructure industries. The bottleneck hindrance in the national economic development was removed and the problem of shortage of essential materials for production was settled.

For attracting more foreign funds, many means have been adopted such as foreign government credit, loan of international financial organizations, running joint ventures and cooperative enterprises. From 1979 to 1995, the contractual foreign investment to be utilized by China totaled US$313.7 billion including US$85.9 billion medium and long-term loans and US$71.4 billion were actually utilized. Together with domestic investment, these foreign funds were used for the construction of 1,000 large and medium-sized projects, of which 70 percent were water resources, energy, transportation, posts and telecommunication and raw materials projects.

From 1993 to 1997, with the steady increase of Chinese investment and efforts of numerous constructors, a large number of infrastructure projects were put into operation and laid a solid foundation for the national economic development and the increase of national strength. During these five years, a total of 9,840.7 billion yuan were invested in fixed assets, including 5,391.4 billion yuan, or 54.8 percent in state-owned enterprises. From 1993 to 1997, a total of 262,400 infrastructure projects in construction area were built and put into operation and 171,500 projects were updated. These newly built projects have increased production of coal by 88.72 million tons and crude oil by 80.06 million tons. Power generating capacity increased by 73.14 million kw and tree felling and transportation by 1.629 million cubic meters. An extra 6,409 km of railway lines were laid, auto manufactures increased by 327,400 pieces and the loading and unloading capacity of harbors by 355.59 million tons. The main projects include Beijing-Kowloon (Hong Kong) Railway, the largest project in Chinese railway construction history, the Nanning-Kunming Railway built with the latest technology, the Shentou Second Power Plant in Shanxi Province with an installed generating capacity of one million kw, the first-phase project of Qingdao Qianwai Harbor area with a cargo-handling capacity of 15 million tons and some famous end of the millenium projects such as the Three Gorges project and the Shenhua project on the Yangtze River, and the Xiaolangdi project on the Yellow River. All these projects lay a solid foundation for the development of national economy.

Since it implemented the reform and opening up policies, China has achieved remarkable progress in infrastructure construction. From 1978 to 1997, China had built 100,000 reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 500 billion cubic meters and brought 2,206 hectares of land under the effective irrigation system. Investment in capital construction has increased production capacity of coal by 380 million tons, crude oil by 240 million tons, steel by 18.84 million tons, power generation capacity by 159 million km and new roads by 1.226 million km, cargo-handling capacity by 460 million tons. From 1980 to 1997, a total of 17,000 km of railway lines were built.

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