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China eyes breakthroughs in western development

Xinhua, 8 August 2001

BEIJING, August 8 (Xinhua) -- China is planning to make major breakthroughs in infrastructure construction and environmental protection in its vast western areas in the next five to ten years.

According to a plan made public by the State Development Planning Commission Wednesday, China will also greatly accelerate the development of science, technology, education, agriculture and industry in its western areas.

The plan pledges more effort to develop western parts of the country and lists key projects.

These projects include building the Qinghai-Tibet railway; transmitting electricity and natural gas from western areas to the east; protecting natural forests, grasslands and rivers; promoting elementary, occupational and higher education; fostering specialized farming; setting up mining bases; building tourist facilities with local characteristics; improving infrastructure in large cities; and expanding the wide-band digital transmission network.

Efforts will also be made to develop a number of economic zones, including economic belts along artery railways and the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, and economic development zones around the capital cities of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces.

The plan also emphasizes the implementation of all policies and measures for the development of China's western areas covering more capital input, favorable taxation and land use, personnel management and improvement of the legal framework.