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Chinese Premier stresses social funds in railway construction

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C) addresses a symposium held at the China Railway Corporation (CRC) in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 22, 2014. Li Keqiang made an inspection tour to the CRC and hosted a symposium at the company on Aug. 22.(Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has encouraged the China Railway Corporation (CRC) to further emancipate the mind and seek more social capital, the central government's website reported on Sunday.

"Railway construction invested solely by the government and promoted by administrative orders will not work any more," said the premier during an inspection tour to the CRC on Friday.

Li said innovations in investment and financing are key to reform in the railway sector. He asked the CRC to explore ways of better soliciting non-governmental funds and gather experience for other state-owned enterprises.

"Railway development is multifunctional as it can stabilize economic growth, enhance social harmony and push forward urbanization," said the premier.

China spent a lot on railways in recent years and attached great importance to reforming railway investment and financing mechanism since the CRC's inception in March 2013.

The State Council, the cabinet, released an action plan to deepen reform in railway investment and financing in April after an executive meeting chaired by Li.

According to the plan, a railway development fund will be set up and open to social investment. The fund's value is expected to reach up to 300 billion yuan (48.6 billion U.S. dollars).

In addition, 150 billion yuan of railway bonds will be issued this year. The government will also encourage banks to fund railway construction.

Rail links in central and western regions will be prioritized to expand investment, boost related sectors, and help urbanization, noted the plan.

Shortly after the cabinet meeting, the CRC raised railway investment target for 2014 to 800 billion yuan and aimed to put over 6,600 kilometers of new lines into operation, mostly in the central and western regions.


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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C) talks with staff members at the railway transport command center of the China Railway Corporation (CRC) in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 22, 2014. Li Keqiang made an inspection tour to the CRC and hosted a symposium at the company on Aug. 22. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

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