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New Regulations on China's Ancient City in Effect
Two regulations designed to protect the ancient section of Suzhou, a scenic city in east China, which dates back to 514 B.C., have taken effect, local officials said on Wednesday.

Under the new regulations, no more than 250,000 urban residents are permitted in Suzhou's ancient section, and no more land in this part of the city will be designated for industrial factories or warehouses.

Approximately one-hour drive from Shanghai municipality, the city of Suzhou in southern Jiangsu province is famed for its unique and elegant gardens, many of which have been listed as United Nations Cultural Heritage. The city is also dubbed as "the Oriental Venice" for its numerous rivers and streams that snake through the city and for its century-old stone bridges.

The overall size of urban Suzhou, including newly developed residential areas, industrial zones and satellite towns, boasts 2,014 sq km, according to a development plan for the city approved by the Chinese government in the year 2000. The ancient section measures only 14.2 sq km.

Existing factories and other industrial enterprises in the ancient section will have to be relocated provided they are deemed detrimental to the protection of the ancient city.

The regulations, which took effect on June 1, 2002, call for the relocation of polytechnical schools from the ancient sector and for restrictions on the size of public facilities involving huge flows of traffic vehicles and people, such as schools and hospitals.

Meanwhile, the regulations ban the building of new water towers, chimneys, and TV or microwave transmission towers and calls for the phasing-out of existing ones.

The regulations also cover ancient towns and villages in Suzhou's suburban areas.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2003)

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