BEIJING — Parts of Beijing municipal government departments and agencies have moved into Tongzhou district, which means that the city government’s subsidiary administrative center has been put into use.
The departments that have moved their offices to the eastern suburb of Tongzhou, about a 40 minutes’ drive from the national capital’s downtown area, included the Beijing municipal poverty relief office and the Beijing municipal committee of the Communist Youth League of China.
More municipal government departments will start moving as well, sources of Beijing municipal government said.
A government employee told Xinhua that it takes him half an hour to get to work from his home on the East Third Ring Road to the new office in Tongzhou since it is easier for him to get to the suburb during peak hours.
A local resident of Tongzhou, who preferred to be identified by his surname as Pang, was happy about the change.
“This area used to be villages. Now, we can see the new Beijing here,” said Pang, who is in his 70s.
Mass transit is improving. A subway line now links the subsidiary administrative zone to the city center of Beijing, and a number of bus line services plying the area have been put into operation.
Wang Kai, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design, said the launch of the administrative zone marks significant progress for the construction of the national capital’s sub-center and is a very important step of the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.
“To cope with ‘urban ills’ such as traffic congestion, air pollution and overpopulation, many metropolises of the world have planned and built sub-centers to realize sustainable development,” Wang said.
Beijing is shifting some of its administrative functions out of the city center into Tongzhou to help address those problems, said Wang.
Tongzhou is expected to receive 400,000 to 500,000 residents from the city center by 2035, according to a draft planning document of the sub-center released in June.
The number of permanent residents in the district will be capped at 1 million by 2020 and 1.3 million by 2035, said the document.