Washington: The World Bank on Wednesday approved three loans totaling US$330 million to the People’s Republic of China to support cultural heritage conservation in Shandong, improvement of water environment in Inner Mongolia and expansion of the railway network in northeast China.
The Shandong Confucius and Mencius Culture Heritage Conservation and Development Project, financed by a loan of US$50 million, will provide support to Qufu and Zoucheng, the hometowns of Confucius and Mencius, two great thinkers of ancient China.
The project is designed to help the two historic cities improve cultural heritage conservation and tourism management so as to contribute to the local economy and people’s welfare. The project will focus on conservation of cultural heritage assets, historic city regeneration and infrastructure upgrading in the cities.
The cultural heritage assets in the two cities include temples, mansions, cemeteries, ancient buildings, courtyards, watchtowers, gates, archways, stele pavilions, stone tablets, inscriptions and ancient trees.
In addition to urban redevelopment, the city moat and Gupan Pond in Qufu will be rehabilitated through restoration of the old water system and diversion of water from the Si River, and the Mencius primary school and the Yinli River in Zoucheng will be rebuilt or rehabilitated. Local residents will be encouraged to participate in heritage conservation and sustainable tourism development through awareness raising and income generating activities.
Training and support will be provided on heritage-related small business development and design of marketable products.
The Bayannaoer Water Comprehensive Environment Management Project, financed by a World Bank loan of US$80 million, will focus on efforts to better utilize the water resources and improve the water environment. Bayannaoer Municipality in west Inner Mongolia has an economy heavily dependent on agriculture.
Water drawn from the Yellow River is mostly used for agricultural irrigation. In recent years, Bayannaoer has also started developing some local industries, mainly in food and mining processing. The new project will invest in water reclamation and distribution facilities to meet the increasing water demand by industries with reclaimed water from agricultural drainage and domestic wastewater.
The project will also finance construction of new wastewater treatment plants and distribution networks for recycled water. Another component of the project is to reduce pollution of the Wuliangsuhai, a major freshwater lake in North China, through establishment of wetlands to contribute to natural reduction of pollutants from point and non-point sources entering the Lake, construction of canals to improve the water circulation, and a pilot of non-point control measures to support a long-term government program on optimized application of chemical fertilizers to reduce nutrient discharge.
The JiTuHun Railway Project, supported by a loan of US$200 million, is designed to respond to existing and anticipated transport demand along the Jilin to Hunchun transport corridor in northeast China by providing increased capacity for freight and passengers, and faster travel time and increased frequency of services for passengers.
The project will construct a double-track, electrified, passenger-dedicated high-speed rail line of about 360 km between the cities of Jilin and Hunchun in Jilin province. This project is part of the World Bank’s program of support for the development of China Railways where we focus on the provision of essential infrastructure and assistance in improving related procurement, environmental, social and commercial practices and addressing the challenges of railway development.