China Drafting Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Development Plan

Intensive efforts are being made to draft an integration development plan for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, a senior official of China's top economic planning body said Wednesday.

"Drafting of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Coordinated Development Program has advanced as we, together with other ministries, have completed a research report," said Fan Hengshan, deputy secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told a press conference.

The neighboring areas are faced with problems in coordinating development, Fan said. Beijing is overpopulated and overloaded with functions, and there is no clear delineation of roles and functions in the three locations, he told reporters.

The Beijing urban circle has a combined area of 216,000 square km. and a combined GDP of over 6 trillion yuan (about 1 trillion U.S. dollars) and a total population of 100 million. The integration program explores new urbanization models for Beijing as people flood into the capital seeking better education, medical care and jobs. There are also too many cities and townships in the region which is choked by uneven development, a water shortage, and serious air pollution.

As for the timetable, Fan said, "We will try to make it as soon as possible while ensuring the quality of the program."

The program will be drafted to solve the problems of integrated development, reassessing and redefining the functions of the three localities in infrastructure, industrial upgrades and coordination, environmental protection, public services, and market system building, Fan said.

Another target of the program is efficiency of systems and mechanisms in the region, which should be an example for national transformation and institutional transition, with concrete support in finance, industry, investment, population, social security, environmental protection and land.

Fan's statement came three months after President Xi Jinping called for integrated, coordinated development of the region around Beijing in terms of functions, industrial distribution, urban layout, transportation, and others, with detailed measures in finance, investment and project schedules.

The idea of a regional cooperative bloc is not a new one for China. Shanghai's Yangtze River Delta and the Guangzhou's Pearl River Delta have brought economic booms to their cities thanks to coordinated industrial and commercial partnerships.

This integration push will concentrate on infrastructure development in Hebei Province, enriching Tianjin's industrial pattern, and by easing Beijing's urban malaise, Yi Peng, an urban development researcher, told Xinhua in a previous interview.


Source: Xinhua