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December 18, 2009

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Tianjin plans to showcase modern town

TIANJIN will showcase how it turned a poor village into a modern town in the Urban Best Practices Area at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, one of Tianjin's top officials said yesterday.

Huaming Town is modern with a solar-powered residential complex for farmers. The town includes shopping streets, parks, schools, clinics and public transport, said Zhang Changhe, Party secretary of Huaming.

Tianjin's 400-square-meter pavilion at the Expo will replicate the town.

Farmers now live in apartments with an average of 80 square meters per family. Zhang said the farmers' old clay or brick homes were worth only 20,000 yuan (US$2,928) to 50,000 yuan even though they were bigger. Most now have apartments worth more than 550,000 yuan.

The Tianjin government used land from other areas of the village and sold it to businesses. The profits were used to build the complex and provide social welfare for residents, he said.

Each family received more than 21,000 yuan in relocation funds.

Men older than 60 and women above 55 each receive a pension of about 600 yuan per month. The government also pays the insurance for every resident.

Everyone, or more than 50,000 people, agreed to move to Huaming, Zhang added.

For farmers who no longer wanted to work on the land, the government provided job training. More than 16,000 farmers were trained to work in logistics or manufacturing for jobs in Tianjin's Binhai New Area, which is similar to Shanghai's Pudong.

Huaming also uses clean energy: About 8,000 solar energy water heaters have been installed throughout the neighborhood.


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