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China to beef up underground facilities for urban life

Updated: Jul 29,2015 9:59 PM

China plans to rebuild underground facilities including water and power supply lines and heating systems to expand urban capacity and channel more investment to boost growth.

A State Council executive meeting presided by Premier Li Keqiang on July 28 decided to build or renovate urban underground facilities — a network of pipes for power, water, heating, telecommunication, gas and other systems needed for urban life.

A statement released after the meeting said the project can raise cities’ visual appeal, increase capacities and create new dynamics for economic growth.

The underground projects will be open to private funds through franchising and will offer investment subsidies and discounted loans. Private investors will be paid back by collecting an initial down payment and maintenance fees from companies that built the pipelines. Fundraising for the construction projects will include bonds and bills issued by project operators.

According to the meeting, increased investment in tourism and consumption through reform and innovation will significantly drive the development of the modern service industry, increase employment and residents’ incomes, and improve the quality of people’s lives.

* The government will improve tourism facilities by beefing up construction of regional airports in central and western areas, linking roads to scenic spots, improving facilities including parking lots and toilets, and standardizing prices and management of the tourism market.

* The government will support the development of rural tourism with specific features and support college graduates and migrant workers who start businesses related to rural tourism.

* Efforts need to be made to find new tourism hot spots. The government will relax rules of access and business permits of online vacation rentals, car rentals and other new modes which feature “Internet Plus”; help improve research and development on tourism goods and manufacturing of tourism equipment; help boost the development of senior citizen travel, study tours, wellness travel that can help improve physical fitness, the cruise ship industry; and promote paid vacations.

* The government will increase investment in tourism and encourage the private sector to invest and operate in the tourism market by adopting the public-private-partnership mode. Measures are also needed to help tourism enterprises increase financing channels in addition to borrowing from financial institutions.

The meeting also adopted a draft law on domestic violence. The law clearly defines the responsibilities of related parties, including the government, social organizations, medical institutions and schools to safeguard the rights and interests of family members, especially women and children.

The law prioritizes prevention and combines education and punishment for offenders, with jail terms meted out for serious offenses.

The draft law will be submitted to the country’s top legislature for deliberation.