Ian Johnson
Ian Johnson

Not only is the municipal government leaving the city center of Beijing, more activities are going to leave for a new urban corridor between Beijing and Tianjin, reports journalist Ian Johnson in the New York Times. Hospitals, markets and administrative offices follow too by moving to Hebei province.

Ian Johnson:

City officials said, 50 city hospitals will begin cooperating with hospitals in Hebei Province, and some will move important facilities to surrounding communities. The neurological unit in Tiantan Hospital, for example, will move to another suburb, Fengtai, by 2017, they said.

The city also said it would move 1,200 pollution-causing businesses out of the urban center.

The moves are part of the creation of a major new urban area called Jing-Jin-Ji, after the three districts it encompasses (“Jing” for Beijing, “Jin” for the nearby port city of Tianjin, and “Ji” for the ancient name for Hebei Province). The city is trying to develop industries like tourism in poorer mountain areas surrounding the capital, with one area bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The plan has been debated for decades, but only began to be implemented in recent months as part of an effort by President Xi Jinping to reform the Chinese economy. The idea is to reduce the sort of duplicative, polluting enterprises like coking and steel that dominate the greater Beijing area and other large urban centers, and in their place create a more modern economic structure.

Jing-Jin-Ji would have more than 100 million residents and be about the size of Kansas, with high-speed rail lines making most cities in the corridor reachable within an hour.

More in the New York Times.

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