In an effort to reduce pollution and traffic congestion in the city’s center, Beijing authorities are planning to move the municipal government, including tens of thousands of civil servants, to the eastern Tongzhou district.
Not only will the move draw the population away from the overcrowded city center, it’s also part of President Xi Jinping’s big step into urbanizing China. The plan is called “Jing-Jin-Ji”; Jing for Beijing, Jin for the nearby city of Tianjin and Ji for Hebei province’s traditional name. Because Tongzhou sits in the eastern suburbs of Beijing near Hebei, the government will be able to focus on closely integrating Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei.
“The idea is to strengthen the function of Beijing as the capital, which means that Beijing should serve the central organs more efficiently,” Zhang Wuming, a researcher at the Fangtang Think Tank in Beijing, said in a New York Times report. “If the Beijing government can move to Tongzhou, it actually can better manage the city from there.”
Although Beijing neither confirmed nor denied the plans, rumors about the relocation have boosted the town’s housing market. Even though housing prices increased 1.6 percent over April, it is still far less compared to the city’s average of 6.7 percent. Still, many Tongzhou locals live in villages and are worried they won’t be able to afford housing in the new administrative area.
Yan Yaojin, a real estate commentator, told reporters that “The higher housing prices are going against the government’s original intentions of increasing the population of Tongzhou”.
Other than the municipal government, hospitals, elementary, secondary schools and a new campus for Remin University will also be moved to the area.
By Sharon Choi
[Image via Wikimedia]