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100 million Chinese to get greater city benefits

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The proportion of city residents who lack urban hukou has been rising and he told AFP: “These aren’t radical numbers but they are trying to reverse the direction it’s been moving in.”

But Miller warned that “the devil is in the details”.

University of Washington professor Kam Wing Chan praised the plan as “rather comprehensive” and “focused much more on the human aspect”, as opposed to previous plans “which were mainly about construction”.

He called the firm target for hukou reform a “significant commitment toward achieving genuine urbanisation”.

But he added: “The real test of the effectiveness of the plan is when the plan gets implemented at the local level. Will the goals be followed or not?”

Among numerous targets aimed at improving livelihoods, the plan called for 99 percent of migrant children to receive nine years’ education, and 95 percent of rural labourers and others struggling to find work to receive free basic job training.

At least 23 percent of city residents would enjoy affordable housing — a pressing problem amid soaring property prices — double the rate in 2012.

At least 90 percent of the elderly would receive basic old-age insurance, up from 66.9 percent in 2012.

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The plan also outlined measures to add infrastructure and improve environmental standards.

Sixty percent of motorised transport would be provided by public operators in cities which have more than one million residents, up from 45 percent in 2012, it said.

Half of new construction would have to be “green”, up from two percent in 2012.

Meanwhile 60 percent of cities should meet national air quality standards, up from 40.9 percent in 2010.

The official news agency Xinhua stressed authorities’ commitment, saying the plan “will provide strategic and fundamental guidance for the healthy development of urbanisation across the country”.

China’s leaders have repeatedly pledged to retool the country’s growth model to one driven by consumer demand rather than investment.

But the plan said urbanisation will “bring huge investment demand for city infrastructure, facilities for public services and housing construction, which will provide continuing power for economic development”.

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