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Beijing tackles enclaves of poverty
By Mu Zi (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-30 09:11

The Chinese capital vowed to revamp "urban villages" with filthy and disorderly surroundings and poor sanitation, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The slum-like urban villages, enclosed by skyscrapers and highways, came into being during the Beijing's rapid expansion in the late 1980s. They are the forgotten corners in the course of social and economic development.

As the city is busy preparing itself to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the renovation of urban villages has been placed at the top of the government work agenda.

A detailed plan was released on Monday, during the mayor's working conference, to give a thorough facelift to more than 170 urban villages in the next three years, says the report.

These villages, covering an area of nearly 7 million square metres, account for half of the city's total urban villages. They are located near Olympic venues or within the Fourth Ring Road.

The second phase of the renovation project is expected to start after 2008 for other half, says the report.

The urban villages of Beijing are divided into two categories.

The first includes the areas enclosed by the established urban area. There are 231 such hamlets scattered in eight urban districts of Beijing and usually located in the downtown business area, along railway lines and in large-scale factories such as the Capital Iron and Steel Group.

The second category includes 112 administrative villages - grassroots administrative units consisting of one or more hamlets - located in border areas of towns and counties.

Most of the 343 urban villages are in three districts of Beijing, including the eastern district of Chaoyang, northwestern district of Haidian and southwestern district of Fengtai.

The municipal government has worked out different renovation policies based on the various conditions of the villages, says the report.

If the land use rights have been sold for more than two years and the developer has let the area lay idle, the government will recover the land.

If it is less than two years, the government will set a deadline for the land user to begin construction and may provide subsidies.

As to the areas without any real estate projects, the municipal government and the district governments will work together to resettle the people there, most of whom are migrant workers, and demolish the shabby buildings.

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