China to issue first national territory development plan

Jun 09, 2011 12:00 AM

The central authorities in China are now planning to unveil a new development outline for the country.
The new plan from the National Development and Reform Commission will see the country broken down on a map into different zones. The new plan will divide the country up into different development zones and categories.

Xu Xianping is a vice minister with the National Development and Reform Commission.
"The strategy proposes the establishment of 3 different zones, including urban, farming and ecological areas. It also establishes four development categories, including areas the government wants to optimize, key development zones, limited development zones and prohibited development zones. The new plan stresses that different areas should work out development plans that cater to local conditions and control the speed of development."

China is currently dealing with challenges connected to this country's rapid economic growth, including a loss of farmland and the over-use of resources, which in itself creates environmental issues.
NDRC General Secretary Yang Weimin says the new development plan is designed to readjust the way the country develops, taking into consideration the Chinese people, the economy and the environment as a whole.

"The optimized development zones we have designated are the most developed areas of the country, including the Yangtze River Delta area, the area around Bohai Bay and the Pearl River Delta. They account for about 40 % of China's economic growth.”
“The limited development zones include areas where the environment takes priority, such as agricultural production bases. These areas have a smaller impact on China's GDP. The new plan is actually going to enlarge the GDP gap between the two regions. However, our aim is to narrow the gap in public services, people's incomes and infrastructure."

The new plan is to try to control the development of large scale, heavy industry and urbanization in areas where the environment is the priority. Local governments are going to be encouraged to try to get people to move from the countryside into more urban areas.
The Finance Ministry is allocating around yuan 25-bn or about $ 4-bn to areas where the environment is the priority. That money is being used to cover the cost of public services and social management in those areas.

NDRC vice-minister Xu Xianping says economic growth is no longer going to be the benchmark to evaluate the performances of local governments.
"Different zones will have different evaluation standards. In the optimized development zones, we will focus on their economic structure, resource consumption, environmental protection, on top of their performance when it comes to technological innovation and social services. In the limited development zones, agricultural productivity, rather than economic growth, will be the benchmark. The protection of the environment and the development of eco-friendly products will also be used to evaluate how local governments are doing in the limited development zones."

The National Development and Reform Commission does concede that it will take time to change the development models in the new groupings.

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