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Beijing to move some functions to Baoding

2014-03-28 09:32 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Some of Beijing's administrative functions as the capital will be devolved to Baoding, in neighboring Hebei province, local authorities said in a document.

This comes after officials previously denied recent reports that Baoding was to become an "auxiliary capital" to Beijing in a bid to ease some of the capital's problems with congestion and overpopulation.

Local residents reacted cautiously to the news, while the city looks set to see a property boom, said local realtors.

The city will be enlarged to accommodate some of the capital city's administrative units, universities, research institutions and healthcare facilities, according to an urbanization document released Wednesday by local authorities.

Baoding will build a high-tech center and modern industrial bases and develop high-end equipment manufacturing, a new energy economy and modern logistics from 2014 to 2020, the document said.

The document was released by the Hebei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Hebei Provincial Government to solicit feedback, the Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

"Relocating administrative units to surrounding cities will help ease the burden on Beijing," Sheng Guangyao, an associate research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Beijing is struggling under the weight of a 20-million-plus population, and is often wreathed in heavy smog, which has pushed its living conditions to the limit.

China's urbanization plan calls for the "strict control" of the population in metropolises like Beijing, Sheng said, adding that the coordinated development of the region around Beijing is an effective way to achieve this goal.

Baoding's location, 140 kilometers southwest of Beijing and midway between Beijing and Hebei's capital of Shijiazhuang, is an advantage for hosting some of Beijing's administrative units and will also attract industries, Sheng said. However, implementing the plan may be difficult, as it will require time and effort to transfer these functions, he noted.

Some urbanization experts said that spreading resources equally nationwide will be more effective for healthy urbanization than devolving some of the capital's functions.

Local residents reached by the Global Times on Thursday expressed a mixed reaction, as they are worried about rising property prices. Others said they appreciate the development opportunities.

A teacher at Baoding-based Hebei University, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times Thursday that the city will benefit from convenient academic exchanges and will learn more from the advanced experience of universities transferred from the capital.

Average property prices have seen rises of up to 10 percent, the Legal Mirror reported Monday.

A realtor in Baoding, specializing in new developments, told the Global Times Thursday that more people have come to buy houses recently and they have taken on more staff to cope with the demand.

China called for coordinated development of the region around Beijing and included development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in the government work report in early March.

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