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Farmer Numbers Decrease in Beijing
With the reconstruction of the Beijing metropolitan area, the proportion of farmers in Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan districts has been gradually decreasing with numbers falling from 528,000 in 1995 to some 450,000 at present.

Over the next few years, Beijing will establish a structure of “big city, little villages” by decreasing the population of farmers and proportion of cultivated area, and promote the integration of towns and rural areas. Chaoyang District, for example, has reduced its number of farmers from 1 million in 1990 to about 200,000 at present. It’s reported that by the end of 2002, some 8,000 more farmers will say goodbye to their rural life styles and join the group of urban residents.

Relevant experts say that with Beijing becoming increasingly modernized and internationalized, the city’s economy no longer depends on the traditional agricultural industry, with sectors such as high-tech replacing rural activities as the economic mainstay. Booming tertiary industries, such as real estate, business and trade, the service sector and tourism, have become the leading economic sectors. The successful bid for 2008 Olympics together with the construction of the CBD (Central Business District) will advance the course of rural urbanization and city modernization as well as regional internationalization.

Chaoyang District, an economic source of power in eastern Beijing, has attracted over 60 percent of Beijing’s foreign chamber of commerce as well as more than 3,000 foreign companies and 167 international news institutions. About 158 of world’s top 500 enterprises have set up operations in Beijing, with two-thirds of these located in the Chaoyang District. The district’s GDP reached 45.1 billion yuan (US$5.46 billion) in 2001, ranking it first of all districts and counties in Beijing with consumer turnover from retail sales hitting 24 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion yuan). According to future plans for Beijing, all areas making up the Chaoyang District will be integrated as part of the city’s downtown area by 2010.

According to relevant departments, the proportion of high-tech related businesses will increase from 29 percent to 40 percent, while traditional industries will fall from 53 percent to 40 percent with city industries up from 18 percent to 20 percent.

(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, December 2, 2002)

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