China Focus: Xiongan New Area construction to gain momentum
SHIJIAZHUANG, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- North China's Hebei Province will mobilize the resources of the entire province to build Xiongan New Area, a landmark project for regional coordinated development, the provincial government said.
According to its annual government report, Hebei will make efforts to realize 10 major projects centering on such areas as infrastructure, transportation, ecological restoration of Baiyangdian Lake, and building smart city.
The provincial government will push forward the construction of Xiongan "in an orderly and effective way" in 2019, said the report.
In April 2017, China announced the establishment of Xiongan New Area, which, about 100 km southwest of Beijing, spans three counties in Hebei Province.
"The construction of Xiongan New Area will soon enter a new stage," said Chen Gang, vice governor of Hebei who also heads the management committee of Xiongan.
So far, work has started on projects including intercity railways between Beijing and Xiongan and the afforestation project, and a public service center has been put into use.
Earlier this month, China's central authorities approved the 2018-2035 master plan for Xiongan.
According to the plan that stresses high-quality development, Xiongan will become a modern city that is green, intelligent and livable with "relatively strong competitiveness and human-environment harmony by 2035."
According to the province's annual government report, Xiongan will be the location for Beijing's non-capital functions, a new home for Beijing's colleges, hospitals, business headquarters and financial and public institutions.
The plan emphasizes the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, said Yang Baojun, president of the China Academy of Urban Planning & Design that worked on the general plan.
Xiongan will become a significant part of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei city cluster, taking over Beijing's non-capital functions and providing a Chinese solution to "big city malaise," he said.
The province will also make efforts to designate innovation resources in Xiongan.
"China aims to build Xiongan into a globally influential city led by innovation-driven development, so attracting talent and developing high-tech and high-end industries are emphasized," Yang said.
Moreover, environmental protection and ecological restoration in Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosystem in north China, will continue to be reinforced this year.
"Ecological protection and green development are prioritized in Xiongan, with a planned 70 percent of water and trees to cover the area," Yang said.
Earlier this month, a plan on the 2018-2035 ecological restoration of Baiyangdian Lake was also approved by the central authorities.
Last year, more than 6,600 hectares of trees were planted in Xiongan and another afforestation project of the same size is expected to be completed in 2019, according to Hebei's forestry department.
"A green lifestyle, such as walking and cycling, will be encouraged as well as public transport in the area, and the number of cars will be controlled," Yang said.
Beijing and Tianjin have also promised to support the construction of Xiongan New Area.
According to the annual government report of Beijing, three schools and a hospital will be built in Xiongan with the help of three prestigious schools and a hospital in Beijing. Construction work on the schools and hospital will start in 2019.
Moreover, the Beijing section of the intercity railway between Beijing and Xiongan will be put into operation, and construction work on a highway connecting Beijing and Xiongan will also start this year.
According to the annual government report of Tianjin, the city will also serve in the construction and development of Xiongan by coordinating in industry development, ecology and public service.
Tianjin will promote a series of measures including sharing talents and technologies, pushing forward construction of transportation infrastructure connecting Tianjin and Xiongan, and creating convenient access to the sea for Xiongan.