Twelve towns in the Beijing area and seven provinces were chosen Tuesday to take part in an urbanization project jointly sponsored by the Unite Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Chinese authorities.
The project is designed to help the towns sharpen their function as local employment centers and bases for production, marketing and cultural and social services, UNDP's senior deputy resident representative in Beijing, Macleod Nyirongo, was quoted by Wednesday's China Daily as saying at a workshop.
"Town development can help mitigate external shocks and alleviate rural poverty...under the overwhelming trend of globalization and China's entry into the World Trade Organization, he said.
Other parties to the project include the China Center for Town Reform and Development (CCTRD) under the State Council Office for the Restructuring of the Economic System, the State Development Planning Commission and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
The project, which started in September and runs through 2004, features a restructuring of government functioning, dynamic employment services and sustainable economic and social development, said Wei Wei, CCTRD's deputy director.
The piloted reform will guarantee great local autonomy in administrative and fiscal matters and improve town planning. It will be based on the principles of participating and transparency, Nyirongo said.
About 4.6 million U.S. dollars will be injected into the project, of which UNDP has put in 1.3 million dollars and the CCTRD two million dollars.
(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2002)