Hu: 'right decision' to set up special economic zones

Updated: 2011-12-27 08:59


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XIAMEN - The three-decade achievements of the Xiamen Special Economic Zone have shown that China has made the right decision to set up special economic zones (SEZs), President Hu Jintao said Monday.

Hu made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to a gala held Monday in southeastern Fujian province's city of Xiamen, which is celebrating the 30th founding anniversary of its special economic zone.

Over the past 30 years, the Xiamen Special Economic Zone has made marked socio-economic progress, made significant changes in people's lives, and served as a pilot area for the country's reform and opening-up and socialist modernization, Hu said.

The Xiamen Special Economic Zone has made a unique contribution to promoting cross-Strait economic and trade cooperation as well as culture and personnel exchanges, Hu said in the letter.

Hu also urged the economic zone to further enhance the capability of independent innovation, ensure and improve people's well being, strengthen and make innovations in social management, and better serve the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relationship.

He Guoqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, attended and addressed the gala.

In his speech, He said the economic zone should develop high-end manufacturing business and a modern service industry, while speeding up the establishment of a market-oriented technology innovation system that integrates production with scientific research.

The economic zone needs to make greater efforts in energy saving and emissions reduction as well as environmental protection by greatly developing a green and recycling-based economy, according to He.

He also said that the economic zone should exert itself to increase the income of rural and urban residents, especially low-income residents, and meet people's basic requirements in terms of education and culture, employment, medical services and housing.

"Reasonable appeals of the people should be addressed, and behavior that undermines people's interests should be resolutely rectified," He said.

In addition, He expects the Xiamen Special Economic Zone to thoroughly implement the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and further explore and enhance cooperation in finance and logistics with Taiwan, He said.

The economic zone should also strengthen the development of direct flights, customs clearance and ports in order to facilitate direct exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, according to He.

He also met with representatives of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents and overseas Chinese, who attended the gala.

He said people from all walks of life in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have long been active in investing, financing education and alleviating poverty in Fujian.

They have not only shared the opportunities that the country's reform and development have brought forth and expanded their own enterprises, but also greatly boosted the country's socio-economic progress, He said.

"You are witnesses, participants and beneficiaries of the reform and opening up," He said to these representatives.

The Xiamen Special Economic Zone is one of the four earliest SEZs set up after China initiated the reform and opening up in 1978. In 1984, it was expanded from the initial 2.5 square kilometers to 131 square kilometers. Last year, it was extended to span the entire city.