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Residents confident of Xiongan's future

By Zhang Yu in Xiongan, Hebei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-23 06:59

Xiongan New Area in Hebei province is expected to take off as the country's new growth engine.

The area has been preparing for this expansion since its establishment was announced in April, with President Xi Jinping pledging to make people's interests among the top priorities when pushing for the area's development.

Xi visited Anxin county in Xiongan on Feb 23 for an inspection tour before the announcement.

"The area must let local residents benefit from the development of Xiongan and they should have an actual feeling of satisfaction," Xi said on the visit. The new area spans the counties of Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin, which have about 1.2 million residents.

"We have maintained the people-centered development path because we are building the new area for the benefit of people, otherwise its development would have no significance," said Liu Baoling, executive deputy director of the administrative committee of Xiongan New Area.

Liu said he spent the past few months figuring out how to bring genuine happiness to the people. The work paid off.

Residents have become more supportive and active, after their initial surprise and concerns about their future.

China announced on April 1 the decision to set up the Xiongan New Area to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

The move is a "major historic and strategic choice made by the Communist Party of China Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping as the core", said a circular issued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

If all goes according to plan, the area will become an innovative hub and home for Beijing's "non-capital" functions.

Locals are now looking forward to the new area.

"I know it's a good thing for us, but at first I was really worried about how farmers like me, who don't have much knowledge and skills, can make a living in such a high-end environment," said Zhang Baozeng, 60, a farmer from Zhongliu village in Anxin county.

Residents are attending training projects, provided by the government for free, to gain skills.

The government brought in training agencies in June to prepare residents for a diverse range of fields, from lawyers to tea-makers, Liu said. So far, more than 3,000 residents have been trained and about 10,000 will be trained by year's end.

The area, about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing, eventually will cover 2,000 square kilometers and house 2 million to 2.5 million people.

"I accompanied President Xi during his visit to the new area. I could feel he cared most about people's living," said Liu.

Seven months after Xi's visit, there is no big change yet to the area's appearance, but it has undergone tremendous change in the population's state of mind.

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