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Chinese vice premier urges Chongqing to become economic engine for western regions

    CHONGQING, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyuon Monday asked southwest China's Chongqing municipality to make efforts to become a leading economic force in the country's underdeveloped western region.

    Hui made the remarks when he attended a meeting marking the tenth anniversary of the setting up of the Chongqing municipality in March 1997 when the city was approved as China's fourth centrally-administered municipality after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

    Hui extended his congratulations on behalf of the central committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

    Hui said Chongqing must aim to become "an economic development engine in the country's western region, an economic center in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, and a municipality with coordinated development between urban and rural areas".

    Hui hoped Chongqing could develop a "new" way of development, namely, using big cities to lead the development of rural areas.

    Compared with the country's affluent eastern coastal areas, the central and western regions were left behind in economic development.

    On June 7, Chongqing and Chengdu, capital of neighboring Sichuan Province, were selected by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's economic planner, as pilot cities for coordinated and balanced development between urban and rural areas.

    Covering 82,000 square kilometers, Chongqing municipality has a population of 31 million, 73 percent of whom live in rural areas.

    The city's gross domestic product reached 348.6 billion yuan (45.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2006. However, its growth has been grossly uneven. The per capita GDP in Wuxi county was 3,593 yuan last year, only one tenth of that in the developed Yuzhong District.

    Acknowledging the municipality's economic, political and cultural development in the past ten years, Hui also urged Chongqing to improve its overall capacity and to change its pattern of economic growth.

    Cadres at all levels should maintain the progressive spirit and further enhance their awareness of the importance of thrift, plain living and hard working, Hui added.

Editor: Song Shutao
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