China may move about three to five lakh people out of Beijing to a new city being built on its outskirts to ease pressure on the capital, a media report has said. China is currently building the big city called Xiongan New Area adjacent to Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said the priority for the Xiongan New Area should be to pool non-capital functions from Beijing, a Chinese expert estimated that the capital could transfer around 300,000 to 500,000 people to the area, state-run Global Times reported. A recent report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences suggested that the new city, a new development area south of the capital, should keep its initial population within one million to start with and within five million in the long term. The report said that the priority for the new city will be to serve as a new home for Beijing’s “non-capital” functions, the daily report said. Therefore, the development of the area should avoid a surge in population and the “metropolitan disease” that afflicts Beijing which has a population of 21.5 million. It noted that majority of the people in the urban district of the new area will come from Beijing’s universities, research institutes, public institutes or headquarters of enterprises.
Beijing unveiled on Monday cooperation agreements with the adjacent Hebei Province on the construction of the Xiongan New Area. Under the agreements, Beijing will support cooperation between Zhongguancun Science Park and Xiongan New Area to build a science park in Xiongan and accelerate the construction of transportation infrastructure between Beijing and the area, including a high-speed railway, intercity railway and expressway. Li Guoping, head of the Beijing Development Institute with Peking University, said that currently, the transfer of the capital’s population to the new area mainly depends on the government’s efforts. Li estimated that around three to five lakh people could be transferred to the new area. During the annual “two sessions” in January 2016, then Beijing mayor Wang Anshun said that in the next five years, the capital will continue to relocate people from downtown areas to suburban areas, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
In 2015, Beijing had 21.7 million permanent residents. Beijing aims to limit its population within 22 million in 2016. But Li said that, in fact, Beijing does not have a huge pressure for relocating its population and the problem lies in balancing its population in different districts.