- Title: Uncertainty hangs over residents of China's latest economic project
- Date: 7th April 2017
- Summary: HEBEI, CHINA (APRIL 7, 2017) (REUTERS) MAN CYCLING/ OLD HOUSE BROKEN WINDOW IN HOUSE FISHERMAN ON LAKE MAN LEANING ON TRICYCLE WOMAN WITH FISHING NET FISH IN BOWLS (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 40-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT WANG LIXIAN, SAYING: "I was really happy when I heard the news, really excited, it's like this place has been transformed, everyone says that we're going to be well off, in one night we've suddenly become city dwellers, I'm so happy." VEHICLE ON STREET VARIOUS OF GUARDS AT STATION CHECKING TO MAKE SURE NO VEHICLES CARRYING CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS ENTER THE VILLAGE VARIOUS OF SHUANGSHENG HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HALF-FINISHED BUILDING VARIOUS OF GATE WITH GOVERNMENT SEAL PROHIBITING SALES OF APARTMENT BUILDINGS VARIOUS OF CONSTRUCTION AREA WITH SPEAKERS ANNOUNCING (Mandarin): "The group promises to not continue construction or sales of any projects and to actively cooperate with the work all of all related government departments. Secondly the group will not sign third party sales agreements with any estate agencies or individuals." (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UNIDENTIFIED CONSTRUCTION WORKER SAYING: "There were a lot of (people) coming to buy houses, loads from Beijing, quite a few from Beijing, also some from Liaoning. REPORTER ASKING: Even Liaoning? WORKER REPLYING: "Yes, quite a lot from Liaoning. Let's just say that there were too many people coming to Xiongan to buy houses." PEOPLE DRIVING PAST PLASTIC TUBES VARIOUS OF PLASTING TUBES BEING PRODUCED BY THE HONGSHENG JUXING PLASTIC CEMENT FIRM BEING LOADED ONTO TRUCK (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) MANAGER OF THE HONGSHENG JUXING PLASTIC CEMENT FIRM, HAN XIUJU, SAYING: "I'm definitely concerned, I'm worried that because of the pollution they might shut us down and not let us make pipes, I'm worried, we're all worried." VARIOUS OF THE EXTERIOR OF THE XIONGXIAN GOVERNMENT BEIJING, CHINA (APRIL 8, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF INDEPENDENT POLITICAL COMMENTATOR ZHANG LIFAN BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) INDEPENDENT POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, ZHANG LIFAN, SAYING: "Over the past 30 years there have been a lot of similar new zones or special zones coming out one after the other, but the failures are many, the successes are few." ZHANG'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) INDEPENDENT POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, ZHANG LIFAN, SAYING: "The choice of Xiongan might have problems because the North China plain has been sinking for the past 10 or 20 years, because its underground water resources are depleted." HEBEI, CHINA (APRIL 7, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FARMER, ZHANG RUIZHI, AND HUSBAND IN FIELD VARIOUS OF CROPS BEING WATERED ZHANG'S HUSBAND (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FARMER, ZHANG RUIZHI, SAYING "I'm worried that in the future life won't be as good as it is now. For people of our age and low level of education if in future we go to the factories, we're not educated, so it's not going to work right? It's hard to say (what the future will hold)." ZHANG AND HUSBAND IN FIELD
- Embargoed: 21st April 2017 08:50
- Keywords: China economy Xiongan Hebei special economic zone mega project
- Location: HEBEI AND BEIJING, CHINA
- City: HEBEI AND BEIJING, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016BEFZNP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: President Xi Jinping's ambition to build a shining new economic zone south of Beijing has ignited hopes and concerns in a quiet backwater frequently mired in toxic smog and sluggish growth.
The three counties that make up the new district - Xiongxian, Anxin and Rongcheng - are a two-hour drive from downtown Beijing and are currently home to wheat fields, small scale manufacturing and basic infrastructure.
In Zhaobeikou, a relatively poor town where people have made a living from fishing for generations, there was huge excitement among residents who felt their lives have been changed overnight.
"It's like this place has been transformed," said Wang Lixian, a 40-year-old fisherwoman who never went to primary school. "Everyone says that we're going to be well off, in one night we've suddenly become city dwellers, I'm so happy."
Details for the transformation plan remains thin, but the area has already seen the coming and going of hordes of property speculators, prompting local officials to roll out emergency curbs on sales and construction.
Even in sleepy Zhaobeikou volunteers are now stationed on the road to make sure that no vehicles carrying construction materials enter the town.
At larger developments, loudspeakers blasted out notices banning the buying and selling of houses.
Despite the furore amongst would-be housebuyers, economists and commentators question whether the designated new area will be able to replicate the stunning success of Shenzhen and Shanghai's Pudong.
Many locals, who have farmed the land for generations, also worry that they will be unable to adjust to city life.
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