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Island to Develop into a Tourist Haven

Chongming Island, China's third largest island in Shanghai, will focus its future development on tourism, resorts and exhibition centers, with no large-scale industrialization plans. 

The long-awaited general development plan for the island, which is regarded as "Shanghai's last piece of pristine land,'' has been completed and is waiting for a final approval from the local and central governments, according to the general office of Shanghai municipal government.


"It (the plan) has been almost set but certain revisions are still possible before a final approval,'' Li Shenghui, an official of suburban development of the general office, told China Daily.


The plan, which looks at the island's progress up to 2020, is considered another key strategic step by the Shanghai government in the coming two decades following its successful development of Pudong into a prosperous financial district in 1990s, according to Li.


Under the draft plan, Chongming will increase its current forest coverage from 16 percent to 55 percent by 2020 and build itself into an "eco-friendly island,'' or a "sea garden.''


"Our long-term goal is to build Chongming into an environmentally friendly island,'' said Huang Tiejun, vice-governor of the county at an irrigation work conference earlier.


Chen Hua, an engineer under the island's irrigation authority, said that the Shanghai government had given orders to start some gigantic water conservation projects this year to meet the island's forestation plans.


Chongming's ecology will mainly consist of forests, lakes, wetlands and farmlands, Chen said.


Under the plan, the island's gross domestic product per capita is also expected to reach around US$20,000 by 2020, equaling or slightly surpassing Shanghai's expected average.


To meet the goal, the 1,200-square-kilometre island will be divided into five areas, with a special function for each.


The eastern part of the island, which boasts the Dongtan wetlands, a resting place for birds migrating between Siberia and Australia, will be reserved as a showcase of the island's friendly ecological environment.


The central area of the island, currently the location of Chongming Dongping Forest Park, will further expand its forest and be renovated into Shanghai's largest public recreational area.


The north part, close to Jiangsu Province, will be scheduled for large-scale theme parks and stadiums, with certain land reserved for the development of ecological agriculture.


The southern area of the island, where Chongming county government is now based, will be an area for residence and certain pollution-free industries.


And the western part, with a 200-hectare Mingzhu Lake (or Bright Pearl Lake) will be built into an international exhibition and convention area.


(China Daily January 6, 2004)

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