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West Development Strategy to Focus on Improvement of People's Livelihoods

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The Chinese government said Wednesday it will continue to develop the country's western regions with a focus on improving people's well-being.

The government will resolutely push forward the development of the west strategy, which was initiated ten years ago and has facilitated historic social and economic progress in the region, according to a statement released after a executive meeting of the State Council on Wednesday chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

More efforts will be made to improve education, health services, job creation, social security, as well as cultural and sports development, to promote equal social services, the statement said.

Infrastructure construction will be given priority, with the building of hydro-power stations to relieve water shortages in the region, it said.

The government also called for sustainable development through a recycling and energy-saving industries and for all projects to meet ecological protection standards.

The government's consistent efforts to develop the western regions have helped bridge the region's gap with the better-off coastal areas in eastern China.

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed the industrial added-value for the central and western provinces grew by 17 percent in 2008, 6 percentage points more than the eastern areas.

(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2010)

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