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China Focus: Beijing reins in population growth rate

English.news.cn   2015-01-23 16:51:53

BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Beijing's permanent population growth in 2014 slowed for the first time in over a decade.

Since 2000, on average the capital's permanent population has increased by nearly 600,000 annually, reaching 20.69 million at the end of 2012, far exceeding the city's 2020 target of 18 million.

The municipal statistics bureau said the city's total population hit 21.5 million in 2014, 368,000 more people than 2013. However, this is 87,000 less than in 2013.

Population control was a priority task on the municipal government's 2014 work agenda, according to the work report delivered to the annual session of the Municipal People's Congress by Mayor Wang Anshun last year.

This was the first time that population control was raised in a government work report.

Beijing's population is about 2.6 times that of London and 2.5 times more than New York. Population growth is blamed for many of the city's problems.

"As a modern international metropolis, Beijing is challenged by a complex mixture of 'urban diseases'," Wang explained.

Over the past year, a number of wholesale markets in the city's central areas were shut down or relocated. The capital also accelerated the pace of industrial restructuring and took a more stringent attitude to floating population registration.

The legislature's 2015 session opened on Friday. The integration of Beijing with its neighbors Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality is one of the meeting's hot topics. The integration aims to transfer some of the capital's functions to Hebei and Tianjin.

Wang said in his government work report on Friday that the city will implement a residence certificate system this year, and continue to shut down outdated production capacity with 300 manufacturing firms identified for closure. A number of industrial workshops will also be closed.

Sun Shuo, deputy director of the Xicheng District government in Beijing, said after the closure of a clothing wholesale market near Beijing Zoo last year, more than 1,300 shops moved out of Beijing. The space will now be allocated to e-commerce, banking and financing firms.

The mayor said that the city's central district was a hodgepodge of activities, services and enterprises.

If the planned integration is to succeed, it would not only solve Beijing's population issues, but also bridge the huge public resource and services gap between the capital and its neighbors.

Editor: Luan
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