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China to Modernize, Rationalize Rapidly Growing Industry


China plans to restructure its industry, to make it more modern and environmentally friendly. Beijing just released revised figures to show that China is now the world's sixth-largest economy.

China's economy is huge and getting steadily bigger, but the government concedes that much of its industry wastes resources and damages the environment.

On Wednesday, the government announced a new industrial policy, which calls on local officials to encourage promising industries, and exclude those that have a negative effect.

A catalogue issued by the Department of Industrial Policy of the National Reform and Development Commission breaks industries into three categories: those that will be encouraged, those that are restricted, and those to be eliminated.

Liu Zhi, director general Industrial Policy Department, announced the new policy.

Mr. Liu says the goal is to emphasize high-technology and the service industry, with an underpinning of basic industries. He says development must feature the conservation of resources, cleanliness and safety.

The catalogue says, for example, that the government will close down coal mines and oil drilling operations that are functioning without licenses or which do not meet safety standards. China has the worst mine safety record in the world, with more than 6,000 miners being killed on the job in 2004.

Restrictions will be placed on the construction of facilities aimed primarily at the wealthy, such as golf courses, large homes and luxury apartments.

The policy will encourage the development of such industries as telecommunications, air travel, and the construction of highways and rail transportation.

The Industrial Policy Department says restructuring Chinese industry is necessary in order to maintain the country's rapid growth.

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