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Peasant-Created Longgang Town Upgraded to City
【Fonts: Large Medium Small 【Source: Wenzhou·China 【Date: 2019.09.09】

Longgang, first peasant-created town inChina, is located in Cannan County of Wenzhou. On August 30, the Zhejiang Provincial People's Government announced at its held press conference that, with the approval of the State Council, the Government has agreed to upgrade Longgang from Town to a county-level city. After 35 years of exploration in urbanization, Longgang’s people finally fulfilled their dream about the town becoming a government-recognized city.

It is a pioneering move in China to directly upgrade a designated town to a county-level city. Chen Yajun, Director of the Planning Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, said: "The town-to-city upgrading of Longgang has blazed a new trail for the extra-Large town to become a city, which marks thatChinahas taken a groundbreaking step in the new-type urbanization, and is exploring a way for deepening the reform of the administrative restructuring. The move is demonstrative in the whole country." 

Longgang Town on the coast of South Zhejiang was born out of the peasants' yearning for becoming city residents. In the early 1980s, not so long after Longgang town was established, it took the lead in reforming the household registration system, and thus attracted a large number of farmers from peripheral countryside to settle down in the town. They raised funds to build houses, roads, schools, hospitals and other facilities there, and successfully builtChina's first peasant-created city on transformed mudflats.  

Today's Longgang is booming. The city’s jurisdiction area has expanded from 5.2 k㎡ to more than 180 k㎡, and its resident population has increased from 5,000 to 382,000. It has formed an industrial system led by printing and packaging industries. Last year, Longgang’s regional GDP came to nearly RMB 30 billion.

Before the upgrading, with the rapid advancement of urbanization, Longgang  Town encountered a bottleneck to its development: The main urban area of 20 square kilometers was crowded with 240,000 dwellers, and the city had more than 70,000 autos but only owned 8 traffic policemen. In addition, the town level government had no power to examine and approve most economic and social administrative affairs... "Longgang has developed into a city but the town level government cannot meet the requirements of its administration," said Mr. Chen Dingmo, who has once served as the Secretary of the Longgang Town Party Committee.

Since being designated as one of the national comprehensive new-type urbanization pilot towns five years ago, Longgang has begun to explore a new type of city establishment model in compliance with the principle of “large department system, flatting management, low administrative cost, and highly-efficient governance”. On the principle, the 41 town-level Party and government agencies were integrated into 15 large departments, which carry out 1,575 items of delegated administrative power. Their performance shows they are basically qualified for the county-level city government administration.

Streamlining, efficiency, and innovation are the highlights of Longgang City’s  government. The number of Longgang City’s Party and government departments are 60% less than that of those of the same level cities in Zhejiang Province. Longgang City established no towns or sub-districts, and the city government directly administers villages, which is unique among the county-level administrative regions ofChina.

"From today on, we will all become city residents," exclaimed Chen Xiaoxiao, aged 33, whose parents were the first batch of entrepreneurs coming to the peasant-created town from countryside to participate in its construction. Nowadays, Chen Xiaoxiao runs a piano bar in the most prosperous part of the city. She wants to create a place with a strong cultural atmosphere in this new city.

It is hopeful that Longgang will become a central county-level city in Southern Zhejiang in the future to drive regional coordinated development through planning and construction according to high standards, and highly-efficient administration. In the new urban district in the east of Longgang  City, the projects of wind power generation equipment manufacturing, hydrogen energy industrial park, urban complex and others have been successively established. A rudiment of a new Longgang begins to take shape. "The establishment of Longgang city is only the beginning of its development, and it has a long way to go," said Chen Peibiao, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group of the Longgang’s New Urban District Development and Construction Center.

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