BEIJING — China on April 21 published the master plan document for Xiongan New Area, creation of which is “a strategic decision with profound historic significance made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core.”
“General Secretary Xi Jinping has planned for, made decisions on and promoted the Xiongan New Area in person, devoting painstaking efforts,” reads the preface of the document released by the Hebei provincial authorities.
“The establishment of Xiongan New Area in Hebei province is a significant decision and arrangement by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core to push forward the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei,” the plan reads.
Xiongan is another new area of “national significance” following the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area, according to the document, which has been approved by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.
It is “a strategy that will have lasting importance for the millennium to come, and a significant national event,” the plan says.
The plan is the fundamental guideline on the planning and development of Xiongan New Area, mapping out the area’s future by 2035 and looking ahead into the mid-21st century, it reads.
It has 10 chapters, namely the general requirements, developing scientific and reasonable layout, shaping the city landscape for a new era, building a beautiful natural ecology and environment, developing high-end and high-tech industries, provision of quality shared public services, construction of fast and highly-efficient transportation network, building a green and smart new city, fostering modernized city security system, ensuring orderly and effective implementation of the plan.
In April 2017, China announced the establishment of Xiongan New Area, spanning three counties in Hebei Province about 100 km Southwest of Beijing.
Xiongan will be the location for Beijing’s noncapital functions. The area will become a new home for Beijing’s colleges, hospitals, business headquarters, and financial and public institutions that meet the requirement of Xiongan’s status and development.
MODEL CITY IN HUMAN HISTORY
The document lists overall development goals for the new area.
By 2035, Xiongan will basically develop into a modern city that is green, intelligent, and livable, with relatively strong competitiveness and harmonious human-environment interaction.
By the middle of the century, it will become a significant part of the world-class Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei city cluster, effectively performing Beijing’s noncapital functions and providing the Chinese solution to “big city malaise.”
It will serve as an example of the country’s high-quality development with world-leading economic and social indicators and a modernized governance system, which will manifest advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.
Xiongan is expected to become “a model city in the history of human development,” the document says.
NEW PATTERN FOR DEVELOPMENT
The document also requires that resources and environment carrying capacity must be taken as an inflexible constraint of space layout so that the population size, land use scale as well as the development intensity of the new area can be reasonably decided.
The document says that priority shall go to ecological protection while the new area is pursuing green development.
With the total area of construction land set at approximately 530 square kilometers, Xiongan will strictly control land use and cap its land development intensity at 30 percent.
About 10 percent of the new area’s land will be put under permanent protection as basic farmland, while the population density will be no more than 10,000 people per square kilometer.
The document says that Xiongan New Area aims to explore a new pattern for urban-rural development.
Within a land area of 50 square kilometers, new types of villages will be developed which will feature thriving businesses, a pleasant living environment, sound infrastructure facilities and public services, and efficient grassroots governance.
Xiongan’s architecture and layout will combine both traditional cultural elements and world’s best design philosophies. The height of buildings will be limited, except for special districts for commerce and finance functions and business headquarters.
Cultural heritages will be well preserved and properly utilized. Archaeological parks, museums of ancient ruins and exhibition halls will be erected, and the protection of historic cities and villages will be integrated into city construction.
The document says that ecological restoration work will be started in Baiyangdian Lake, including restoring the lake’s area to 360 square kilometers. Meanwhile, water pollution will be treated while the forest coverage rate will rise from 11 percent to 40 percent.
Moreover, a negative list will be implemented to close down and ward off high-pollution and energy-intensive production.
In the long term, Baiyangdian National Park will be established.
PILOT FREE TRADE ZONE
The document says the new area will aim at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, map out tech industries at a high starting point, and push for coordinated development of the real economy, technological innovation, finance and human resources.
National key laboratories and engineering research centers will be introduced to Xiongan, and promising tech firms will also find their new homes there.
Major industries to thrive in the area will include information, biotechnology, new materials, modern services, and green agriculture.
Xiongan will strive to build first-class technology and innovation platforms in the world, with best research universities to foster talents and innovative policies and mechanisms to serve growth tech firms.
The new area will provide quality public facilities and services to its dwellers and form a diversified housing system. As a livable and business-friendly city, it will put property developments under strict control and establish a long-term mechanism to prevent speculation in the real estate market.
Xiongan plans to build a fast and highly-efficient transportation network. By high-speed railway, it will take only 20 minutes to travel from Xiongan to Beijing’s planned new airport in Daxing district, 30 minutes to Beijing and Tianjin, and an hour to Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province.
In Xiongan, a green and low-carbon way of production, living, as well as building and administering the area will be promoted. For instance, advanced environmental-friendly and energy-saving materials and techniques will be widely used in the construction of the new area.
The plan also stresses building Xiongan into a digital city. The new area will step up the construction of intelligent infrastructure, and set up a smart mode of city administration and a management system for data asset.
A modernized city security system will be established in Xiongan, with complete high-standard disaster-preventing and disaster-alleviating facilities, so that the new area can quickly respond to disasters and emergencies and develop safe and sound.
Xiongan will actively serve Beijing’s role as an international exchange center in its proactive expansion of opening-up, according to the document.
The China (Hebei) Pilot Free Trade Zone with Xiongan as the center is expected to be established.
Restrictions on foreign investment will be dramatically canceled or eased and a management model of pre-establishment national treatment and negative list will be fully implemented.
Intergovernmental cooperation programs between China and foreign countries and a comprehensive bonded zone will be developed.
Xiongan also aims to attract international organizations related to the Belt and Road Initiative to participate in its development and host international and domestic high-end forums.