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March 9, 2013

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Shanghai's mayor promises down-to-earth deals

SHANGHAI Mayor Yang Xiong has said he will focus on serving its residents with down-to-earth deals during his term of office disregarding whatever reputation lies in wait.

Priorities during his tenure will include deepening economic reforms, improving welfare for migrants, and clearing air pollution, he told Xinhua news agency in Beijing during the ongoing session of the national legislature.

When he retires, the 59-year-old mayor said, he dreams of enjoying the city's growth as an ordinary resident.

"I'm a builder (of Shanghai) and I want to enjoy the city's achievements from development when I get old," said Yang, who was elected mayor on February 1.

"Although I am the mayor, I am first a city resident. I will be an ordinary resident after retirement. Pursuing a reputation is selfish, and it will prevent one from right thinking and making right decisions," he said.

According to Yang, the city has developed an aggressive plan to promote reform in the Pudong New Area, which epitomizes Shanghai's ambition to become a world-class financial and shipping center.

Shanghai will also replace business tax with value-added tax for the telecommunication, railway and construction industries "in appropriate times" after a VAT trial program was launched in Shanghai in January last year.

Yang said Shanghai will also expand investment options available for private funds and innovate government management.

"The most ideal reforms are those that have wrapped up before people know it," he said. "We need to complete tasks step by step, carefully and thoroughly, and keep negative impacts to the lowest level."

Asked about Shanghai's slowest economic growth in China, Yang said the city was taking initiatives that would lead to slower growth but with better quality. The city has set its GDP growth at 7.5 percent for this year.

Yang said he hates to be manipulated by GDP growth. The city will stick to its plan to cut reliance on heavy industry and labor-intensive sectors.

"Shanghai has always been a migrant city," he said. "We will strictly control population size while providing sound treatment to migrants." He said the city would improve social welfare for migrants based on a residential permit system.

Yang also promised to lift Shanghai's air quality to meet the national standard set for cities and rural areas in the coming years.


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