• Beijing is one of the most populated cities in China.

Beijing is one of the most populated cities in China. (Photo : The Guardian)

Beijing officials emphasized that they will "strictly curb its population growth" as part of the Chinese capital's 13th Five-Year plan (2016-2020).

Gui Jinlong, secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), remarked that "explosive population is the most prominent problem hindering Beijing's development."

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The municipal government said that they are eyeing to curb the population to within 23 million by the end of 2020.

"One of the major reasons for control is that the city is facing a severe water shortage," Gui added.

Under the plan, Beijing authorities will adopt economic, legal and administrative measures including "optimizing the population structure" and "controlling business categories."

As of Dec. 2014, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics and the National Bureau of Statistics survey show that the permanent population of the area has reached 21.5 million.

The said figure has already surpassed the 2020 target population of 18 million, which was set in 2005.

Zhou Haiwang, an expert affiliated with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that the issue of booming population could not be solved within five years.

Zhou, however, noted that Beijing has already made progress through the advancement of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Coordinated Development Program. The scheme cover plans to relocate labor-intensive industries to areas outside Beijing.

A CNS report shows that the number of Beijing permanent residents only increased by 368,000 last year, a 1.7-percent growth rate.

"Industrial changes, tightened residency policies and pollution . . . have all contributed to the slow growth of Beijing's population," Zhou said.