Kaifeng to restore historical image

Updated: 2012-08-13 16:56

By An Baijie (China Daily)

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The local government in Kaifeng, an ancient city in Central China's Henan province, plans to restore the city's historical appearance of its downtown.

The city was the capital of seven dynasties, including the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), when China's economy boomed and society thrived.

To restore the city's historical outlook of its peak period in the Northern Song Dynasty, the government plans to reconstruct some ancient buildings in the downtown area. The project will require more than 34,000 families to move from their homes by the end of the year, Wang Xuejie, vice-mayor of Kaifeng, said in a report released on the city government's official website on Saturday.

The project aims to boost the ancient city's tourism industry and exhibit the prosperity of the Northern Song Dynasty, Qi Jinli, Party secretary of Kaifeng, said in early January, according to the government's website.

To make room for the development, the local government plans to demolish 5.8 million square meters of old buildings in the next four years, Qi told the Henan provincial radio station in a program on June 28.

The blueprint of the reconstruction project shows that the new buildings will be built in the style of the Northern Song Dynasty, and even road signs on the streets will "reflect the character of the Northern Song Dynasty", according to a report in China Business Journal.

A total of 80,000 families, making up nearly a third of the city's population, will have to move out of the downtown region in the next four years, the report said.

The demolition and relocation will cost at least 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion). The city's financial revenue was just 5 billion yuan last year, according to the report.

Kong Xiangcheng, deputy chief of the Kaifeng bureau of housing and urban-rural development, said that the project was "very difficult" and the local government had "made preparations" for the upcoming difficulties, the report said.

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