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China's new areas chart way for reforms

Updated: 2013-11-08
( Xinhua )

Growth engine vs social innovation

Although the six new areas have their own different focuses in development, they all bear the same mission of providing impetus to the regional economies as growth engines.

Established in September last year, the youngest Nansha New Area in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, is expected to lead industrial restructuring in the Pearl River Delta and serve as an important platform for cooperation between Guangdong and neighboring Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

Meanwhile, Lanzhou New Area in northwest China's Gansu Province marks the country's latest effort to accelerate the development of its western regions and is key for China's further opening of its west.

Cutting-edge high-end industries have been brought into these areas, indicating their higher standards in developing the regional economy.

While economic restructuring and upgrading have been prioritized within these areas, social innovation to better people's livelihood is also given the same consideration.

Comprehensive reforms regarding education, healthcare, housing and environmental protection have been pushed forward along with economic growth.

Chongqing's Liangjiang New Area, for example, is a pilot area for comprehensive urban-rural reform in the hopes of narrowing the gaps between cities and rural areas.

Nansha New Area has also earmarked some 200 square km of land along the coastline as areas that are not permitted for economic development so as to preserve the primitive ecosystem.

"The best coastlines in Nansha New Area will not give way to industrial production or construction. Instead, they will be reserved only for people's leisure," vowed Li Zigen, deputy head of the area's administrative committee.

Zhou Liqun, a professor with Nankai University, said the new areas have displayed their advantages in building an integrated urban-rural public service mechanism and upholding the ideology of environmental protection alongside development.

In addition to the state-level development areas, other pilot zones have been set up to test specific reforms.

Qianhai in Shenzhen city, which neighbors Hong Kong, has been designated as a test bed for China's financial opening up, after steps taken by the government to increase the international use of the yuan, the Chinese currency.

Moreover, Shanghai Free Trade Zone, launched at the end of September, will push financial reform to a new extent.

The forthcoming Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, scheduled to run from November 9 to 12 in Beijing, is expected to discuss major issues concerning comprehensive reform as China faces significant economic and social challenges.

Experts say the lessons and experience drawn from the six pilot new areas will lay a solid foundation and offer wisdom for the nation's strategic transformation in a new era.

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