Beijing, Hebei mull population transfer

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-22 23:53:01

Beijing and Hebei Province have reached an agreement to transfer 5 million people from Beijing to neighboring areas in Hebei, in order to relieve pressure on resources and reduce the population in the capital, according to recent comments from an expert.

"Hebei Province wants to receive these people, but Hebei also lacks suitable land for construction," Zheng Xinli, vice director with China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Economy & Nation Weekly recently.

Some scholars suggest building a new district outside Beijing's sixth ring road.

The new district would include areas of Beijing's Daxing district, Wuqing district in Tianjin and Langfang in Hebei Province, which would have enough space for more than 5 million people, said the magazine.

"Transferring 5 million people is ridiculous since it goes against the law of free migration," said Wang Zhenyu, a research fellow with the China University of Political Science and Law.

"Beijing is crowded because more resources are located here," Wang said. "The key to reducing the population is relocating some of advantageous industries to other areas."

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning told the magazine this month that they are discussing modifications to the capital's general plan from 2004 to 2020, which has been in operation for 10 years. According to the plan, the total population in Beijing should be 18 million by 2020.

However, Beijing's official population had reached 20.69 million by 2012. Nearly 5 million migrants, about 70 percent of the total migrants in Beijing, live in Beijing's rural areas, which are not well planned or managed, according to the magazine.

Beijing has signed agreements with Tianjin and Hebei Province for special projects including the construction of new airports, traffic facilities, environmental protection and urbanization, the magazine reported, saying the three areas are becoming closer in terms of policy-making.

Zhu Zhengju, head of the Hebei Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-rural Development, has agreed to support the special projects.

Zhu said that Hebei Province has advantages in terms of land resources. "The 14 cities and counties in Hebei Province are near Beijing and have vast land resources and enough labor, which could provide conditions to accept people from Beijing and might be an option for Beijing," Zhu was quoted by the magazine as saying.

In mid-2013, the Ministry of Land and Resources conducted a survey in a bid to choose eligible medium-sized cities in Hebei Province for preferential policies that would attract some of Beijing's population and industries. Baoding, Zhangjiakou and Chengde were potential choices.

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