Beijing environmental authorities said they plan to build “a belt of 30 national parks” in five years as part of an effort to reduce pollution and turn the Chinese capital into a more liveable city.

The plan was unveiled after the municipal government announced earlier this month that it will relocate some of its offices to satellite town Tongzhou to release environmental and population pressure on Beijing.

beijing greening
The Beihai Park in Beijing. Photo: DPerstin

Existing nature sanctuaries and tourist areas in suburban Beijing will be expanded and transformed, officials from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Parks and Lands said on Tuesday.

Green belts will also be built along four rivers which pass through the city to “form an ecological corridor”, officials said.

By 2020, 85% of Beijing residents will have a park within 500 metres from their home, according to officials.

Beijing announced details about turning Tongzhou into a “sub-capital” on July 14, confirming rumours about a partial “capital relocation” which have fuelled property prices in suburban Beijing.

beijing capital relocaiton
A blueprint for Tongzhou as “sub-capital”. Photo: Tongzhou government website

Besides government offices, some public facilities and schools were also said to be moving to Tongzhou. Current subway lines connecting the satellite city with downtown Beijing will be extended, according to reports by Xinhua news agency. The government wants to integrate the capital with Tianjin city and Hebei Province to build a world-class metropolitan area, Xinhua said.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.