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Beijing to curb population growth

2014-01-26 09:29 CNTV Web Editor: Li Yan

Beijing is opting to curb exponential population growth to address urban problems and ease resource strains. The city's over 20 million population is believed to tax its limited resources and result in environmental pollution.  [Special coverage]

Home to more than 20.6 million people, Beijing might be the most populous capital in the world.

Crowds and queues seem to be a permanent feature of the city. The impact however can hardly be ignored.

"A lot of discussion is underway on the balance between population growth, environment and resources." Wei Aimin, Delegate, Beijing Municipal People's Congress said.

The just concluded Beijing Municipal People's Congress is trying to find a way out of the dilemma.

Government officials believe that the explosive population growth is taxing the city's limited resources. Beijing is already more than twice as crowded as New York and London. Therefore curbing the population growth seems to be the best way out to relieve pressure and increase competitiveness.

Beijing's permanent population has increased by an average of nearly 600,000 annually in the last decade. About three fourths are migrants.

The city is planning to implement a resident certificate system, and connect it to the amount of public services one can recieve. Meaning, the longer you work and live here, the more services you are likely to enjoy.

Other measures also include restructuring industries and upgrading service sectors. Wholesale markets and large hospitals are likely to be moved from the downtown area.

"Given the fact that so much optimal resources are in Beijing, it's only natural that people want to move here for better living conditions and services. Therefore, merely curbing the growth will not do. The government faces an uphill battle to address the uneven development between the city center and suburbs, and develop satellite cities. People will not come if they are assured of equal public services." Chen Jiapeng, Director of Research of China Polulation and Dev't Research Center said.

Improving on social administration is more important.

Chen believes greater wisdom from the government is required to fully tap into the potential of Beijing.

In the long run, Chen said the government should set its goal towards full coverage of social security so that residents can be happy with their lives in both the downtown and the suburbs.

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