Hangzhou Lake to Be Restored

Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province will spend millions of yuan in the next five years into a face-lift project for the West Lake, its most-popular tourist destination.

Plans for the 5.6-square-kilometer lake and surrounding areas including improving the water quality, building a greenbelt on the banks, restoring buildings from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) that surround the lake, and developing new scenic spots on the nearby mountains.

Vice Mayor Ma Shiyong said the city is planning to spend 200 million yuan (US$24 million) on a dredging project to return the lake to its glory days about 200 years ago.

The project - the seventh in 1,600 years - will give the lake an average depth of 2.2 meters with 1 meter of visibility.

Ma set down three rules for the beautification project: pull down buildings that mar the lake's landscape, forbid more buildings on the shores, and control the number of huge yachts on the lake.

"Plenty of off-beaten-track scenic spots on the mountains remain untouched and we shall develop them into the best resort places for travelers," Ma said. Last year,more than 23 million domestic tourists and 700,000 from abroad visited the city.

(Eastday.com 01/18/2001)