According to the 2006 Blue Book of Regional Development in China, the twin hubs of Beijing and Tianjin are marred by surrounding poverty, numbering 2.72 million poor people in Hebei Province. A further problem area comes from the more than 80,000 square kilometers in this region suffering from severe ecological deterioration.
Statistics show that in the six cities bordering Beijing and Tianjin, 3,798 villages in 32 counties are impoverished.
According to the Hebei Provincial Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, a new poverty alleviation program is targeting this area, led by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, China Development Bank, and the Hebei provincial government.
The poverty alleviation program began back on October 9, 2006, with agreements signed by the organizations listed above. With an aim to be fully carried out in 2007, the programs will include loans to aid the rural poor.
The Leading Group Office and China Development Bank have been providing incentives for enterprises from more developed areas to invest in poor areas around Beijing and Tianjin. Successes in this regard include the 200 million yuan (US$25.8 million) investment by Beijing Huadu Group toward a chicken-raising base in Luanping County of Hebei. Beijing Sanyuan Group is also mulling over larger-scale cooperation in the area.
A specialized provincial financial cooperation organization will be created to work along with the Hebei Provincial Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. Accompanying the new organization will be a range of city-level financial organizations to work with the cities of Zhangjiakou and Chengde; and county level financial organizations to cater to the counties of Huai'an and Luanping.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiaohua, March 29, 2007)