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Beijing is dedicated to combat overpopulation problem

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Beijing is making efforts to cap its population under 22 million by the end of this year, and 23 million by 2020.

During a meeting about the city's economic situation, Beijing mayor Wang Anshun said the city government will ease urban ills in such areas as population, traffic congestion, and pollution.

And problems lying behind the overpopulation are, he says, more extensive than many people think.

Liu Yun was born and raised in Beijing. She speaks for experience.

"The crucial part is, with the increase of the population, real estate prices also rise drastically. There was no long queue to go to kindergarten back when I was a kid. But now, you will have to arise early for kindergarten."

Sun Tong, a white collar worker living in Beijing, complains about traffic and standards of medical care.

"Traffic jam, license-plate lottery for car registration; I still haven't got the license. The big hospitals are all located in either Dongcheng or Xicheng District. It is also difficult to get registered at the hospital."

There are thousands of people like them. By the end of 2014, the number of permanent residents in Beijing had hit 21.5 million.

Zhao Hong is vice director of Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.

He points out that the overpopulation is the result of the ambiguity of the city's self-positioning.

"Beijing has functioned too much as an economic and habitat entity. With the unique resources Beijing's gathered because of being the capital, the education, medical care and retails industry are far too strong, weighing way over it should be in terms of the positioning and scale. We need to cut these off, restore it as a typical capital."

Apart from this, Zhao also underlines the unsound design of Beijing's layout, pointing at the problem of the single-center frame.

Nevertheless, the proposal of multi-center was raised as early as 2004, but it failed to be put into practice until recently. Beijing is relocating the core services like education, medical and administrative to the outskirts, in the hope that this will drive the population outwards accordingly.

However, it's widely acknowledged population problem is not easy to deal with. Li Yongping is a professor in the Institute of Population Studies at Peking University.

"To solve population problem is not short term. It's not like tap water, you can turn it on or off on your own needs. The hysteresis of the effect of the polices could be 10 years or 20 years. So Before that, it is difficult to see the polices' side effects."

Yongping adds that the policy should be viewed in the long term to see its real outcomes.

Source: Xinhua
Date: 2015-07-21