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Advice sought on bulging population
Updated: 2005-08-07 15:06

Some say it's high time to impose a limit on the number of permanent Beijing residents, while others hold Beijingers should be encouraged to move out. Beijing is yet to decide how it should cope with the bulging population.

The municipal government held a hearing Saturday, inviting 42 local residents from various walks of life to advise on the population issue, Beijing Morning Post reported Sunday.

One group of representatives hold that Beijing should heighten the threshold for nonnative to move in, so that it can slow down the population growth. To that effect, they said Beijing may increase living expenses, rid of slums where migrants can find shelter at low rents, and offer fewer jobs to non-Beijingers.

A second group, however, called for new policies to encourage some Beijingers to move out.

"The city government can set up senior citizens' communities inthe neighboring cities, preferably in less populated cities with fine sceneries and mild climate," said one representative at the hearing. "This will divert some service providers to these cities,too."

Beijing's 2 million senior citizens aged above 60 make up one eighth of the city's population. Experts say people of this age group will make up one third of Beijing's population by 2025.

Other representatives in favor of Beijingers' moving out say that the younger generation should respond to the central government's call to go west and contribute to the development of the needy regions.

The citizens also suggested that Beijing should move some of its top schools, research bodies, big companies and even railway stations to the suburbs to ease the pressure on the city center.

Meanwhile, they said the city must erect no more new residential quarters in the downtown areas so as to make the city center less crowded.

Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission said that the number of permanent residents in the municipality has risen 2 percent in the first half of 2005, higher than the 1.5 percent year-on-year growth projected for the whole year.

By the end of June, permanent residents in Beijing, or holders of "hukou" -- a residence certificate -- issued by Beijing's public security authorities, had topped 11.7 million. Plus the growing number of migrants, the city is bulging with about 15 million people.

The commission has been soliciting views from the public over the past weeks on the drafting of the "11th Five-Year Plan" for 2006-2010.

Officials with the commission said a second hearing is expectedto be held on Aug. 20 on how to economize in Beijing's social and economic development, as the central government has issued a call nationwide to maximize efficiency of all resources.

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