Lhasa's population limit to improve availability of public services

By Qu Qiuyan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/9 22:28:39

China's State Council has approved a plan, saying that Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, will limit its permanent resident population to 500,000 by 2020, a move an expert said would benefit local residents in terms of basic public services and help promote social stability.

By 2020, the permanent resident population should not exceed 500,000 in the urban area, according to the revised plan for Lhasa's overall urban development (2009-20) released on the State Council's website on Tuesday.

Ma Li, counselor of the State Council and former director of the China Population and Development Research Center, told the Global Times that Lhasa's overall urban plan would benefit local residents in terms of basic public services and social welfare. 

"Lhasa's urban population growth should be in line with its economic development. The plan will allow more local residents to fully enjoy the city's basic public services and social welfare," said Ma, adding that the plan will also help promote social stability.

The local government has been asked to make arrangements for service infrastructure while take into consideration the needs of the public, such as education, healthcare and municipal administration, with a special focus on affordable housing projects. Shantytowns, villages within the city and dilapidated houses should be renovated and equipped with improved facilities, according to the plan.

The overall plan does not make a mention of the proportion of the Han ethnic group and Tibetan ethnic group in the city's population.

Ma also mentioned that Lhasa's plan is different from population policies in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, which limit the urban population due to the pace of economic development and high living costs. Ma said that Lhasa's population pressure has not reached the level of Beijing or Shanghai.

In 2015, Lhasa had a registered population of 530,300, according to statistics released on the Chinese statistical information website tjcn.org

The Tibetan ethnic group in Tibet accounted for 91.83 percent of the total population in 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics website.

Lhasa's urban land area should not surpass 78 square kilometers and the development of new areas and districts outside the regulated land plan is forbidden, according to the overall plan.

The plan has allocated an area of 4,326 square kilometers for unified rural and urban development. It calls for expanding public facilities to cover the neighboring villages, developing counties and key villages with potential, and optimizing the overall layout of villages and towns.

More efforts will be made in counties and central towns with good basic conditions to promote the modernization of rural areas, said the plan.

The plan also highlights the importance of green infrastructure and facilities, establishment of a resource-saving and people-friendly city and protection of the local scenic spots.

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