Let Residents Have Their Say

Beijing vows to take up the glamour of an international metropolis before 2005 while greatly improving the quality of life for its people, promised leading officials of the Chinese capital.

Residents' concerns are now the priority in Beijing's development strategies, Shen Baochang, director of the Beijing Municipal Development and Planning Commission, said Tuesday at an international press conference concerning the Fourth Session of the 11th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

According to Shen, Beijing is the only Chinese city publishing the draft of its 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) so that its people can make suggestions for improvements.

For 15 days after the draft was published on December 23th, the commission collected over 200 suggestions and received many groups of concerned people.

``Although we cannot reflect everyone's opinions in the final version, we have done our best and given feedback to all those kind enough to contribute their thoughts,'' said Xin Shaojun, deputy director of the commission in charge of drafting the plan.

Xin believed that on the authorized plan, local people could expect to enjoy more job opportunities, higher incomes, better social security, more spacious housing and a healthier environment.

Beijing will be a more suitable place for human beings to live, he said.

To achieve these things, Beijing will speed up the renovation of its old urban area, where there are many crammed and shabby one-story houses. The 3 million square metres of these houses now still in existence after more than a decade's renovation are expected to be replaced by modern residential buildings in the next five years.

When this has been done, local people's per capita dwelling area will be increased from Wednesday's roughly 15 square metres to at least 18.

As the renovation work will mainly take place in the southern part of Beijing, where there are many historical and cultural relics, many people are worried the work will mean the destruction of those treasures.

Therefore, Shan Jixiang, Beijing's leading urban planner, has promised that Beijing will maintain its traditional charm and culture, and that the renovation work will be well planned and protect the relics.

Even the height and style of the new buildings have been carefully considered, he said.

Shan also disclosed the municipal government was actually treating the rebuilding as a chance to enhance the city's Chinese flavour and historical charm.

Some important historical sites will reappear after many years in the dark, sites such as the waterways to the north of the Temple of Heaven, the source of the area's name -- Jinyuchi, or the pool of goldfish.

(China Daily 02/07/2001)

In This Series

Beijing to Become Global Metropolis by 2020

Beijing Vows to Promote Education

Pour More Money in Infrastructure Construction



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