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China removes historic border round Shenzhen economic zone

China removes historic border round Shenzhen economic zone

Posted January. 17, 2018 08:47,   

Updated January. 17, 2018 09:16

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The wall that has been restricting the movement of people and materials by separating the 1st special economic zone and the rest of the mainland areas of Shenzhen, which represents the Chinese economic reform, has vanished into the history after 36 years since its designation. It is eval‎uated as a symbolic incident, which proves China’s economy has grown so much that it no longer needs walls.

Partial region in southern Shenzhen neighboring the border line with Hong Kong was designated as China’s first special economic zone in 1980, two years after late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping announced the Chinese economic reform in 1978. Shenzhen was once a small fishermen’s village with about 30,000 population, but it has now grown into the Silicon Valley of China, in which the world-class information technology (IT) companies have gathered up.

China guaranteed economic activities of foreigners, such as free investment, establishment of factories and tax exemption, in the Shenzhen economic zone. But Chinese people outside of the zone could only enter and leave it under permission. Along with 136-kilometer wire fence around the zone since 1982, 163 guard posts and 10 checkpoints protected by armed police were installed. As Hong Kong, the southern part of the zone, was returned to China in 1997, the Shenzhen economic zone has even more strict restrictions.

People called the border line between Hong Kong and Shenzhen “the first gateway,” and called the border line between the Shenzhen economic zone and the mainland China “the second gateway.” The existence of the second gateway not only spoke for the unique status of Shenzhen in China, but also showed that China has not opened its doors completely to the outside world just yet. The second gateway was quickly influenced by the Western economy and culture, and prevented Chinese socialism from being in danger.

Thanks to the rapid economic growth, the Shenzhen special economic zone was expanded to the entire city of Shenzhen in 2010. As subway is operated all over the city of Shenzhen, the walls became useless. Instead, the walls and checkpoints cost tens of millions of yuans every year, becoming obstacles for urban development. The fact that the citizens had to be inspected when going back and forth also caused inconvenience. The walls, checkpoints and patrol roads have been being taken down since 2013 and they are still being taken down, but this border line, which officially divided China and Shenzhen, still exists.

The news media of Chia reported that this action made Shenzhen to take the lead in Chinese economic reform once again, showing their anticipation. But the Chinese State Council ordered in the decision letter of this action to reinforce management and restriction about the first gateway located in the border line between Shenzhen and Hong Kong/Macau.



Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com