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Binhai New Area
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Zong Guoying was elected head of Tianjin's Binhai New Area at the first session of the first People's Congress of Binhai.
Binhai Administration set for overhaul

Binhai's administrative structure will be simplified and streamlined in a recently approved reform.

Tianjin municipal government announced on Monday at a news conference its plan for reforming Binhai's administrative structure has been approved by the State Council.

The Binhai New Area, established in 1994 as a pilot zone for economic reform and covering a planning area of 2,270 square meters, currently comprises three administrative districts: Tanggu District, Hangu District and Dagang District; and nine function zones including Tianjin Economic Technological Development Area, Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone and Tianjin Port as well as parts of Dongli District and Jinnan District.

The overlapping administrative divisions are not only confusing but also inefficient, said a local official.

“There are as many as seven police bureaus, six state tax bureaus and six courts. The overlapping institutions are hard to coordinate,” he said.

Zhou Liqun, vice-president of the Binhai Development Institute of Nankai University, said there is lack of coordinated efforts between districts.

“As its development is accelerating, Binhai's current administrative system is increasingly conflicting with its progress,” he said, adding the unreasonable administrative divisions are not good for the flow of capital, talents and other resources.

Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo said the lagging administration needed urgent reform as it was holding up Binhai's growth.

Under the reform plan, the three administrative districts will be dispersed and integrated into the Binhai New Area, and governmental institutions will be streamlined.

The Administrative Committee of the Binhai New Area has been dispersed and a new administration will be elected by Jan, 2010, according to Huang.

“Under the new regime, Binhai will be given greater autonomy for its development and reform”, he added.

The administrative changes were listed as a priority in an overall comprehensive reform program for Binhai, which was approved by the State Council in April.

The approval makes Binhai China's second overall reform pilot zone after the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. The central government plans to make Binhai a third economic powerhouse after Shenzhen and Pudong.

By Guo Changdong

TIANJIN City of Glamour