City-life Appeals to More and More Chinese

As much as 92 percent of urban families should use cleaner natural gas, not polluting coal, for fuel by 2005, the state’s economic planning authority has said.

That is a top priority of the coming five years made public recently by the State Development Planning Commission (SPDC).

Other priorities include developing urban economies, improving the environment and strengthening management of China’s cities and towns.

SDPC required all cities to cover 35 percent of its area in green space by the end of 2005.

Furthermore, 45 percent of urban sewage will be processed and 70 big and medium-sized cities will meet European environmental standards for cleanliness.

The plan calls for reforms in how residents are registered, how the labor market is grown and how land is used.

There are now more than 660 cities and 20,000 towns in China, up from 193 cities and 2,173 towns in 1978, statistics show. The country’s urban population is now at 456 million people, up from 170 million.

The SDPC forecasts that in 2005, 35 percent of the nation will be urbanized. That means more than 10 million rural residents will move to cities each year.

By 2010, city residents will account for 40 percent of the Chinese population, the plan dictates.

Looking even farther out, experts say 60 percent of the nation will live in cities in 20 years, a result of rapid economic growth and enforcement of population controls.

“At present, China’s urbanization rate is 15 percentage points lower and urbanization is a relatively arduous and long-term task for China,” said Li Shantong, senior researcher with Development and Research Center under the State Council.

Li said the world’s middle-income nations are 58 percent urban, while rich nations are 78 percent urban. China is presently 31 percent urban.

“China should speed up the number of cities and improve their services,” Li said.

China’s average gross domestic product (GDP) is about US$850 per capita. Experts say that any country with a GDP average below US$3,000 has significant room for healthy urbanization.

(China Daily 08/13/2001)

In This Series

Public Awareness Seen as Key to Solid Waste Problem

China Sets Targets for Urbanization

Urbanization Rate to Reach 60% in 20 Years


"Urbanization" of Scenic Spots Be Averted

Ecological Protection, A Must for Urbanization

Urbanization Speed in the Countryside Above World Level

China to Build 20 New Cities Every Year


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