China’s top state planning agency has pledged to ease gas shortages and safeguard supplies for residential heating, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Beijing has scaled back its plan to convert northern cities to cleaner fuel this winter after provinces warned of gas shortages, residents struggled to keep warm and reports of freezing classrooms deepened concerns about a heating crisis. “Under circumstances where resource supplies cannot meet the needs of both industries and people’s livelihoods, we must always give top priority to the protection of people’s livelihoods,” Xinhua quoted a senior official at the National Development and Reform Commission as saying. China U-turns on coal ban amid growing outcry over numbers left freezing in winter cold The state planner and other state agencies, local governments and gas companies had established a joint monitoring mechanism for gas supplies, Xinhua said. The government had told major state-owned gas producers, including China National Petroleum Corp, to increase production and supply, the report continued.