Jiaxing-Shaoxing River-Crossing Bridge, Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway and Shangyu-Sanmen Expressway get crossed at Guzhu in Shangyu, East China's Zhejiang province, on July 6, 2013.[Photo / XINHUA]
Developing the less-developed inland areas is not only a responsibility for the local governments concerned, it is a joint endeavor for all parties, said an article in People's Daily on Thursday.
The mayor of Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, North China, said he felt ashamed that the city's economy grew 3 percent last year, only one-third of the 9 percent target. Around the same time in Shanghai, the head of Pudong district, for the first time, just listed promoting innovation and bridging income gaps as the main target without mentioning GDP. That the two places are in different development phases influences local governments' understanding of economic growth.
It is unrealistic to require the governments of less-developed regions to intentionally downplay growth targets. To balance the speed of growth and its quality, Beijing has made environmental health, the improvement of people's livelihoods, innovation, and energy consumption basic indexes in the new growth assessment mechanism.
The better-off coastal regions also need to provide more assistance to help the poorer inland central and western regions to realize environmentally friendly growth.
The central government is promoting the regional integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, and the establishment of the Yangtze River Economic Belt to help overcome the regional development gap. Yet many industries relocated to the west waste energy and pollute the environment.
The restructuring of the Chinese economy is not intended as a means for polluting industries to relocate inland; it is to realize more balanced development nationwide.
The good natural environment in the less-developed regions is a valuable asset. New energy industries, innovation-based manufacturing industries and services industries, such as tourism, should be the main economic boosters, along with environmental funds from Beijing and coastal regions.