'Empty cities' emerging in China, warns top official

'Empty cities' emerging in China, warns top official

File photo: Beijing city

Beijing:  In a grim warning against rapid urbanisation in China, a top development official has said that reckless expansion of cities has turned many of them into ghost towns with no occupants in sight.

Qiao Runling, deputy director of the China Centre for Urban Development, said local governments had relied on quick urbanisation to stimulate economic growth and generate fiscal revenue.

"Nearly every big or medium-sized city across China has plans to erect a new town," Qiao said.

New towns are usually bigger than old ones and thus many are left empty as a result, he said at a forum on urban development in Jiangxi Province.

"China now has an oversupply of cities, given the number of new urban districts that we have," Qiao said, adding that the excess of new urban districts are especially serious in medium and small-sized cities in central and western parts of the country.

State-run broadcaster CCTV recently carried a report showing two such "ghost cities" with massive apartment and commercial complexes with no occupants, leaving local governments in deep debts.

Official statistics showed that land used for urban construction rose by 83.41 per cent from 2000 to 2010, while the urban population saw an increase of 45.12 per cent in the period, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China, a predominantly rural society, has rapidly urbanised in the past decades with urban people now forming over 50 per cent of the population.

Story First Published: August 10, 2013 18:36 IST

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