West China Sees New Surge in Development
With efforts to develop western China underway, a new surge in infrastructure construction has begun in the region. And the creation of modern infrastructure is expected to be the focus of economic growth in the west in the coming years.
In Shaanxi Province, at the crossroads between central and western China, more than 100 infrastructure projects are underway with a total investment of 117.5 billion yuan.
Provincial Governor Cheng Andong said that Shaanxi will invest an unprecedented sum of fund into fixed assets by starting projects including railways, expressways, airports, and gas supply lines.
He said the province aims to invest 73 billion yuan in infrastructure projects this year, an increase of 15.9 percent over 1999.
Communications and telecommunications projects are expected on top the agenda in western China. Sichuan Province is planning to invest 12 billion yuan in 19 key projects on the basis of a 12 billion yuan investment in expressway construction last year.
Occupying 540 sq km, western China has a population of about 300 million and includes 10 provinces, autonomous regions and a municipality including Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Ningxia.
The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region will invest 14 billion yuan in a highway network over the next five years.
Qinghai Province will set aside 3.7 billion yuan to start 20 highway projects with a total length of 3,475 kilometers.
At the same time, the province will invest 4 billion yuan in laying 953 kilometers of gas pipe lines from the Qaidam Basin to the city of Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province.
The gas-supply project will benefit economic growth, readjust fuel consumption structure, and reduce environmental pollution in Qinghai and Gansu provinces.
The western provinces and regions are also stressing ecological protection and development while ensuring a sustained economic growth.
The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is planning a 70,000-square-kilometer oasis in the region in a bid to enlarge its oasisarea to 140,000 square kilometers.
Yunnan Province, which recently held the successful '99 China Kunming International Horticulture Exposition, has set the goal of promoting its "green industry" as a pillar of the provincial economy.
The province will build a "biological valley" in the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan, for high-tech biological research and production.
Qinghai Province, which is the sources of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, is undertaking an ecological protection program around Qinghai Lake and in the Qaidam Basin, aimed at increasing tree and grass growing areas, and protecting biological resources on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
The State Development Bank will increase loans for the development of western China, and will also allocate funds to aid technological development programs and provide other services in the region.