|Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a national symposium on sustainable development of resources-dependent cities and mining areas as well as the work to renovate shantytowns, in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 25, 2012. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)
BEIJING, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday urged resource-dependent cities to speed up the industrial transformation and step up shantytown renovation projects to move onto a sustainable growth track.
Li made the remarks at a national symposium on sustainable development of resources-dependent cities and mining areas as well as the work to renovate shantytowns.
Li said that as the cradle of China's heavy industry, resource-dependent cities and industrial and mining areas, where workers had gathered in shabby temporary sheds to produce the coal, crude oil, iron ore and lumber that were essential for industrial activities, have made important contributions to China's economic take-off.
But decades of exploitation have dried up resources in those regions and left them saddled with problems such as environmental degradation, employment difficulties and heavy social security burdens, Li noted.
He said the disposable income per capita in many industrial and mining regions was less than 20 percent of the national average, and a sizable part of the 60 million to 70 million residents in the resource-dependent areas still live in shantytowns.
He said the transformation in those areas is of great importance in China's restructuring efforts, as improved environments will drive growth in the service industry, which will, in turn, help create jobs and boost income and consumption.
To facilitate their development, the Chinese government in recent years has adopted a slew of measures, including increasing transfer payment grants, fostering substitution industries and initiating environmental projects, Li said.
He stressed that the transformation and shantytown renovation will be a long-lasting process and authorities should scientifically coordinate efforts to create a long-term mechanism to foster a sustainable growth model.