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Chongming Island Opens for Full Development
Shanghai's isolated Chongming island, China's third largest, will be opened to economic development through the construction of a tunnel beneath the Yangtze River linking the island with Shanghai's bustling downtown area.

The Yangtze River, running between downtown Shanghai and the suburban county of Chongming, was once a traffic impediment which undermined the economic development of the island.

However, with the building of the tunnel, Chongming is now seen as a unique source of ecological resources on the Yangtze Delta, said Yuan Enzhen, president of the Shanghai Economic Association.

Zhou Guoping, an official with the municipal government, pointed out that the inconvenient transportation was the major factor blocking the island's development.

"Eleven years ago, a tunnel across the Huangpu River brought about great changes to the Pudong district. There is no doubt thatthe trans-Yangtze tunnel will create abundant opportunities for Chongming," Zhou said.

As the economic engine of the Yangtze Delta, Shanghai expects Chongming to take full advantage of its ecological resources to help the city achieve sustainable development.

Although positioned to develop ecological industries rather than industrial production bases, the island is attracting investors from both home and abroad.

With capital of over 20 billion yuan (2.4 billion US dollars), the China Huayuan Group has signed cooperative agreements with Chongming in a bid to develop its hi-technology, ecological, cultural, tourist and recreational sectors.

Shanghai Industrial Investment (Holdings) Co. Ltd. aims to participate in the development of a wetland park, a modern agricultural base, a high-end residential community in and around Dongtan and a world wetland natural protection zone in Chongming.

Gong Deqing, secretary of the Chongming County Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said, "Chongming is now preparing for a comprehensive opening up to the outside. We believe it will achieve rapid progress."

(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2003)

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