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Beijingers Enjoy Highest Quality of Life in China
Beijing has taken the lead for four consecutive years in both economic progress and cultural advancement, according to a recent State Statistics Bureau grading.

In 2001, the city's composite index for social development soared 12.89 points to a new high of 154.83, leaving the country'saverage of 67.1 far behind.

Liu Jigang, director of the Statistics Bureau of Beijing City, said that the index ranking has offered a panoramic view of the city's fast progress in science and technology, protection of cultural relics and the general standard of living.

The city's per capita disposable income in 2001 rose 11.9 percent to 11,578 yuan (about US$1,395). And farmers' income topped 5,000 yuan (about US$602), for the first time, up 12.7 percent year-on-year.

With the Engel's Coefficient standing at about 36.2 percent, local people's spending on culture and entertainment witnessed a rapid increase while spending on food keeps falling.

Last year, Beijing invested 30.52 billion yuan (about US$3.7 billion) on scientific activities, of which 15.57 billion yuan (about US$1.88 billion) were channeled intoresearch and development projects, accounting for 6.3 percent of the city's gross domestic product.

Due to adequate capital supply, some 47 high-tech incubators have been established in Beijing and sales revenues of 2.5 billionyuan ( about US$301 million) was raked in.

According to Liu, the statistics also indicate the city's steady growth in the information field.

In 2001, some 58 percent of households in Beijing were equippedwith fixed telephones and the number of mobile phone users soared to 5.95 million.

Being the cultural center of China, Beijing ladled out 114.72 million yuan (about US$13.8 million) last year to save and protect its cultural heritage. Up to now, 15 projects have been completed and 44 are still in progress.

(People's Daily January 29, 2002)

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