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Beijing's New Mayor Targets Traffic Headache

Newly-elected Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan acknowledged Saturday that traffic congestion is a problem for the city at the moment, but won't pose any headache for the Olympics, which the Chinese capital is to host in 2008.


"I expect that many ordinary Beijingers will give up driving during the Games period," said Wang, who was elected Saturday as mayor of the capital at the second session of the 12th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.


He made the remark at a press conference immediately after his election.


"The traffic problem is an integral part of the entire process of Beijing's modernization," he said, blaming irrational city planning, the increasing number of private cars, malpractice and people's lack of awareness of the importance of obeying the traffic regulations for traffic jams.


In 2002, Beijing recorded a total of 16,789 traffic jams, with the "rush hour" actually consuming 11 hours of each day.


The mayor said Beijing will speed up the construction of subways to ease the traffic pressure in the city by extending its rail transport to 300 km in 2008.


Wang said that he had learned lessons from the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak last year on how to handle emergencies.


He said the municipal government should work even harder to make governmental affairs better known to the public in fields such as urban development and management.


Wang was made acting mayor of Beijing on April 22 last year, after Meng Xuenong was sacked in accordance with a decision made by the Standing Committee of the 12th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.


According to Chinese law, the standing committee of the people 's congress at the local level is authorized to appoint local officials up to the position of deputy head. Only the annual plenary session of the people's congress is entitled to elect the head of the local government.


Wang, born in July 1948, is a native of Tianzhen, in north China's Shanxi Province. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1983.


In 1969, Wang was sent to the countryside to work as a farmer in neighboring Shaanxi Province. He held a post at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum from 1971 to 1973, graduated from the History Department of Northwest China University in 1976, and began to work at the Institute of Modern Chinese History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1979.


Wang worked in the rural policy and development research centers of the Secretariat of CPC Central Committee and the State Council from 1982 to 1986. 


He served as general manager and Party secretary of the China Rural Trust and Investment Company in 1988. He was appointed vice-president of the Construction Bank of China in 1989, and became deputy governor of the People's Bank of China in 1993, and president of the Construction Bank of China in 1994. He was elected president of the Chinese Investment Society in 1995.


In 1997, Wang became a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, and was elected deputy governor of Guangdong Province in 1998.


Wang was appointed director of the Economic Restructuring Office of the State Council in 2000, and secretary of the CPC Hainan Provincial Committee 2002-2003. He was elected chairman of the Standing Committee of the Hainan Provincial People's Congress in January 2003.


Wang was made acting mayor of Beijing and deputy secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee in April 2003.


The new mayor is chairman of the organizing committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


He was an alternate member of the 15th CPC Central Committee, and is a member of 16th CPC Central Committee.


(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2004)



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