Tuesday, December 18, 2007

China marks out zone for sustainable development

Reuters: A cluster of cities in central China has been designated the country's latest experimental zone, this one for energy saving and environmentally friendly programmes, state media reported on Monday. China has a history of marking out zones for preferential policies which, if successful, are then rolled out across the country. Its most famous were the "special economic zones" of the south which launched the country's market reforms 30 years ago.

Now the Hunan cities of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan -- late chairman Mao Zedong's hometown -- as well as the Hubei capital of Wuhan, will be targeted to lead China's drive to make its breakneck economic growth more environmentally sustainable. The cities must "as quickly as possible form systems and mechanisms beneficial to energy saving and environmental and ecological protection", the People's Daily cited a notice from the National Development and Reform Commission as saying.

Hunan governor Zhou Qiang said the three cities there were chosen because they were part of China's industrial heartland and a lack of resources and environmental pollution have impeded their development. Their locations in central China mean the cities could give a boost to central government efforts to spur growth in that part of the country, the China Daily cited Zhou as saying.

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