The government of Shijiazhuang, capital of North China’s Hebei Province, will be relocated to the Zhengding New Area, a former rural county where President Xi Jinping used to work.
The Shijiazhuang government website on May 2 said a majority of the city’s government departments and government-funded institutions will move to Zhengding, 15 kilometers north of downtown Shijiazhuang and 258 kilometers south of Beijing.
Previous media reports said Shijiazhuang aims to make Zhengding a new venue to partially handle non-capital functions from Beijing to help decongest China’s capital.
Hebei Daily, official daily newspaper of Hebei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, reported in 2014 that President Xi served as the deputy Party chief of Zhengding in 1982 and was later promoted to Party chief in 1983. It was one of the places where President Xi’s political career began. The report said President Xi led Zhengding on a series of reforms and helped the county out of poverty.
Media reports said Zhengding will focus on high tech industries, including equipment manufacturing and the IT industry.
Niu Fengrui, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Shijiazhuang government will be relocated because downtown Shijiazhuang was poorly planned.
“The old city center was filled with factories, including pharmaceutical and chemical plants, which created a lot of pollution. Although Shijiazhuang has managed to move some factories out of the city, the city government remained heavily congested,” said Niu.
He said it is also common in China to move city governments to a new development zone to help boost the zone’s economy.
The idea of a Zhengding New Area was first proposed in 2009. As Hebei Province races toward urbanization, the provincial government developed a blueprint of Shijiazhuang for 5 million people, and envisioned Zhengding as a green zone.