The “two zones”
They are the Integrated National Demonstration Zone for Increased Opening in the Service Sector, and the China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone. In his address at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services, President Xi Jinping pledged support for Beijing to develop a national integrated demonstration zone for greater openness in the service sector, and to set up a pilot free trade zone focusing on technological innovation, opening-up of the service sector, and the digital economy.
The five initiatives
Beijing has launched five initiatives as part of the country’s efforts to pursue a new development approach: building Beijing into a global center for innovation; developing the “two zones”; growing the digital economy; creating and stimulating demand through supply-side structural reform, and advancing coordinated development between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei by relocating functions non-essential to Beijing’s role as the capital city.
A global center for consumption
This is one of the key features of an international metropolis. Such a city has a wide availability of products and services, and leads and boosts consumption as a premier national market or even as a center of the global market.
Approved by the State Council in 2021, Beijing leads the country in building a global center for consumption.
Policies for growth in five areas
In its Guidelines on faster development of new business forms and models to facilitate high-quality economic development in Beijing, the municipal government presented major policy measures for growth in five areas: developing new infrastructure, increasing new scenarios for applications, expanding areas to tap into the potential for consumption, promoting further opening-up, and providing more efficient and effective services.
Beijing premium agricultural produce (BPAP)
It is a certification for Beijing’s quality agricultural brands. The Catalogue of Beijing Premium Agricultural Produce, initially released in 2021, contains 130 brands, including 10 geographical brands such as Pinggu Peaches, 75 corporate brands such as Shunxin Holdings and 45 product brands such as Jingyigen potato starch vermicelli.
This refers to continuous efforts to improve and adjust the city’s spatial organization and urban functions in the developed areas. Beijing will strictly control large-scale demolition and construction, implement strict safety standards, and rigorously protect the ecosystem. This renewal is small scale, incremental and sustainable.
It focuses on the following: strengthening Beijing’s position as “the four centers” and the capital of the nation; improving infrastructure such as urban public spaces, public service facilities and public transportation; optimizing residential housing conditions as well as the environs and supporting facilities of residential communities; upgrading under- or mis-utilized buildings; protecting and utilizing historical and cultural areas, and transforming and renovating industrial parks and old industrial buildings.
A resilient city
This is a city that has an ability to withstand, adapt to and recover quickly from an adverse or changing environment. They represent a new paradigm for urban growth in a safe environment.
A city is resilient in the sense that it has built up a cushion against unexpected shocks, and it can reorient itself depending on the circumstances when a natural disaster or a major accident occurs, especially in the event of major safety accidents, extreme weather, earthquakes, floods, major epidemics and other emergencies. As a result, it is able to deal with the pressure, adapt, survive, and quickly return to the path of sustainable development. In its Guidelines on building a resilient city, the municipal government laid down a master plan for building up the city’s resilience in areas including urban space planning, construction, urban management and society.
Two aviation hubs
These refer to Beijing Daxing International Airport, which opened on September 25th, 2019, and Beijing Capital International Airport. Beijing is now a city with two aviation hubs.
Integration of transit networks
As it continues its efforts to integrate urban and suburban rail services, intercity rail links and trunk railways, Beijing is also working on better connections between rail and other modes of transportation, such as bus services, cycling routes and pedestrian facilities. Such an integration makes it easier for travelers to change between different means of transportation, using a system of multiple transit networks that include rail, bus and slow traffic facilities.
Based on well-planned transportation networks and spatial organization, Beijing will develop a number of vibrant, mixed-use and compact communities centered around rail and subway stations. With complete facilities and services, these developments will be desirable places to live and work, with easy access to public transportation. They will be given priority for construction permits and land use.
Jingban, Jingtong and Jingzhi mobile terminals
Jingban is an inter-agency office platform that serves as a unified work portal for government staff at the municipal, district, sub-district and community levels.
Jingtong is the city’s unified public service platform that coordinates online and offline services, and provides direct government and public services to individuals and businesses.
Jingzhi is a comprehensive service platform that combines and manages different categories of apps for decision-making, designed to facilitate informed decision-making of authorities at all levels. It also pools data across the city to bolster the development of such apps and improve the efficacy of government decision-making.
Digital infrastructure for a smart city
This digital infrastructure consists of seven components, namely, the city QR code, spatial layout maps, basic toolkit, computing resources, sensing systems, telecommunications, and government cloud, plus a big data platform. They combine to form a shared and interconnected foundation platform to make Beijing a smart city.
The city QR code, spatial layout maps, sensing systems and the big data platform ensure full data supply; the government cloud and telecommunication networks offer strong data carrying capacity, while computing resources and the basic toolkit improve the smart application of such data. Together they provide the city with comprehensive resources and services that are efficient, safe and smart, under one uniform system to digitize all areas of city management.
The “every microgram counts” initiative
This is a long-term initiative for controlling Beijing’s air pollution. It uses a combination of targeted measures to achieve its purpose, including technology, enforcement and compliance, and management measures. Under this initiative, each and every microgram of emission reduction counts.
Responsible officials experiencing their own services
This is a practice wherein government officials at the levels of director-general and division director, acting as private citizens or business representatives, go through the process of obtaining public services or conducting official business both online and off. The practice is used to determine whether the processes are “easy to understand” and “accessible”, and whether the experience is “satisfactory”.
This is an attempt to deal with the “last mile” in policy implementation and improve effectiveness at the “front end” of the policy-making process. It helps deliver practical and quality services to the people with attention paid to details.
The “6+4” regulatory system
The “6+4” regulatory system refers to six basic regulatory mechanisms: risk monitoring, credit supervision, tiered and industry specific supervision, collaborative supervision, technology-based monitoring and joint supervision by regulators and the public. A “four ones” system has been introduced in the pilot program for supervision involving multiple agencies: one regulatory compliance manual, one checklist, one consolidated inspection and one credit and risk assessment for each industry.
These are services provided by Beijing to improve the city’s business environment and serve the needs of businesses. The packages include a combination of preferential policies which suit the businesses’ positioning, which are designed to overcome information asymmetry, and which, within the framework of laws and regulations, offer tailor-made solutions for their difficulties.
The notification and compliance requirement
This requires departments in charge of administrative approvals to notify applicants in one go of the conditions, standards and technical requirements to be met, documents to be submitted and legal responsibilities to be fulfilled.
If an applicant pledges in written form (including e-text) to meet all the criteria, to assume full responsibility for any violations, and to bear any consequences of false representation, then the application is approved on the spot.
Smart review and approval system (SRAS)
The SRAS is an online application, review and approval system. It uses speech recognition, facial recognition, and other artificial intelligence technologies for identity authentication, smart authorization, automatic form filling, and other functions.
Through the SRAS, businesses or individuals that apply for authorization or registration can obtain approvals without having to provide physical identity documents or fill out any forms. It reduces the paperwork involved, thus simplifying the application process.
Beijing has opened at the Municipal Administrative Center a smart government service center and launched a blockchain-based platform, enabling government information and resources sharing and collaborative work. This allows government departments and agencies to handle applications “within seconds”, all via online portals or intelligent terminals.
A regulatory sandbox is a controlled “box” or environment under a regulator’s close oversight that allows experiments with new business forms and models. The regulators adopt a tolerant and prudent approach to problems that may arise in the “sandbox”. This enables a fault-tolerant and error-correcting mechanism to be applied within a manageable range.
It allows businesses to experiment with new products, services and models in a real market environment, cut costs and shorten their time to market. In 2019, Beijing received State Council approval for its pilot regulatory sandbox proposal, and was the first in China to use it on fintech.
Two important “minor” details
These are waste sorting and property management, which have in recent years become the focus of government efforts to improve the life of the people through meticulous municipal management.
“One issue per month”
This is a mechanism for dealing with public complaints. In 2021, Beijing began to select thorny chronic issues that call for municipal-level policies and coordination from among public complaints made via the “12345” hotline in the previous year.
Each month, one such issue with two to three specific problems is addressed through action initiatives, deployment planning and focused supervision. For each issue, a lead department works under a municipal leader responsible for coordinating cross-departmental efforts, in order to solve the issue to the public’s satisfaction.
Time banking is a mode of voluntary service for the benefit of senior citizens. Beijing will develop a three-tiered time banking system for eldercare at the city, district, and sub-district/township levels. For this purpose, it will put in place an integrated information platform and standard procedures.
Time banking uses one hour as a service time unit and records savings in the form of time coins. When volunteers or their spouses who have reached the age of 60 need care services, they may redeem services from other volunteers with their previously credited service hours in the Time Bank.
One focus on employment with three priorities and five measures
This is a package of policy measures aimed at fuller and higher-quality employment. Their focus is on improving operations of the employment system, which is key to our employment strategy.
The three priorities are ensuring employment access for priority groups, providing development opportunities for SMEs, and encouraging and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. These are critical measures that hold the line on employment. Policy and financial support for these measures will be increased. The five measures are efforts to formulate more consistent policies, make services more easily accessible, give the market a greater role, offer more effective training, and improve law enforcement.
This approach was cited as a best practice by the General Office of the State Council.
The Zhuque Plan
Zhuque is a legendary Chinese bird which symbolizes talent. The Zhuque Plan is a talent recruitment program for sci-tech project managers. It aims to attract and develop high-caliber project managers who understand scientists’ needs, possess engineering skills and are able to mobilize resources for innovation. They will work at important research institutes including national laboratories and new- type R&D institutions, as well as in key development areas such as the “three science cities and one hi-tech area”.
Turn-key projects of “three schools and one hospital”
These projects including a kindergarten, a primary school, a secondary school and a general hospital are financed and built by Beijing. Upon completion, they will be transferred to the jurisdiction of Xiong'an New Area, which will then invite first-class education and medical groups from Beijing to operate them: Beijing Beihai Kindergarten, Shijia Hutong Primary School, Beijing No. 4 High School and Xuanwu Hospital.
One clinic per village
This initiative aims to deliver better health service in the rural areas of Beijing with improved allocation of medical resources. In 2021, clinics were built in 650 villages which previously had no medical facilities, thus ensuring a clinic in every administrative village.
In 2020, Beijing launched “Roaming Beijing”, a citywide project to promote leisure activities and tourism for both residents and visitors. Over the last two years, Beijing has rolled out dozens of tourist routes, both vehicular and pedestrian. These take into account seasonal changes and traditional holidays, follow the “Central Axis” through the city that is now applying for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site status, and showcase Beijing’s traditional architecture and modern locations. “Roaming Beijing” has become a new way for both residents and tourists to explore the city in depth.
The "Dual Olympics City"
The Summer and Winter Olympics City
This refers to Beijing being the only city in the world to date to have hosted both the Summer Olympics (2008) and the Winter Olympics (2022).