Traffic and security are priorities for Olympic city

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 12:00am

Mayor says construction work for the 2008 Games in Beijing is accelerating

Construction work for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is moving into top gear and will fuel economic growth of 9 per cent this year, the city's acting mayor says.

In his report to the city's annual people's congress session, Wang Qishan also said priority needed to be given to the issues of traffic congestion and security.

Along with construction of pavilions in the Olympic park and supporting infrastructure projects, the essential part of the comprehensive urban redesign, including protection of historical sites, would be completed this year, he said.

Despite the impact of Sars last year, Beijing's economy expanded by 10.5 per cent thanks to strong growth of its manufacturing and information technology sectors.

Better supplies and services were needed to persuade more consumers to spend on cars, home-building materials and digital products, he said.

Spending on tourism and sports and cultural events were also promising areas to boost growth.

The capital would seek to attract multinational companies and financial institutions to open offices, set up research and development institutions or purchasing centres, and to bring in new management skills and world-class services, he said.

To tackle traffic congestion, Mr Wang proposed extending subway lines and building more roads to ease bottlenecks at congested junctions. Enforcement of cargo weight limits and parking regulations are also part of the solution.

Mr Wang, who replaced former mayor Meng Xuenong during the Sars crisis last year, said the fight against the disease had exposed glaring inadequacies in the city's public health and medical emergency response systems.

The Miyun Lantern Festival tragedy on February 5, when 37 people died in a stampede, had again highlighted the need for a command centre to co-ordinate emergency medical resources, he said. 'Learning from the painful lesson of the Miyun tragedy, we must rigorously implement a responsibility system for security, to investigate and root out the causes of potentially serious incidents,' the acting mayor said.

The city must also do more to help migrant workers find jobs and send their children to school, and step up measures to ensure family planning was implemented by migrant families, he said.

Mr Wang pledged the city government would strive to solve problems raised in petitions submitted by the public.