Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, speaks during a meeting on environmental protection in Beijing, capital of China. The two-day national conference ended on May 19, 2018. (WANG YE / XINHUA)
BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country will fight a good battle against pollution and push ecological civilization to a new level during a tone-setting meeting on environmental protection ending Saturday.
China will push for coordination between economic and social development and ecological civilization, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said while addressing the two-day national conference.
China should accelerate the construction of an ecological civilization system and the fostering of an ecological culture that values ecology and environment.
Xi Jinping, President, China
The country will channel more energy into promoting ecological civilization and resolving environmental problems, backed by the political advantages of the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC and the socialist system, as well as the achievements made during the 40 years of reform and opening-up, said Xi.
Building an ecological civilization is of fundamental importance for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation, he said, adding that a great deal of work has been done since the 18th CPC National Congress to bring profound and historical changes regarding ecological and environment protection.
China has started to conduct central environmental inspections, carried out guidelines to control air, water and soil pollution, published its own plans to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is implementing a national plan to tackle the climate change.
Despite overall improvement in China's ecological environment, Xi said the progress was not made in a firm manner.
The building of ecological civilization has entered a critical period, a period that requires more quality ecological goods to meet people's ever-growing demands for a beautiful environment, and a period when China is capable of addressing prominent ecological and environment issues, he said.
With the Chinese economy transitioning from high-speed growth to high-quality development, Xi said there will be conventional and unconventional challenges and difficulties. "We must bite the bullet and overcome them," he said.
Ecology and environment are closely connected with people's well-being, urging works to be done to meet public expectations by stepping up the building of ecological civilization and providing more quality ecological products, said Xi.
China must abide by certain principles to push forward ecological civilization in a new era, said the Chinese leader.
To ensure harmony between human and nature, China must stick to the policy of putting conservation and protection first, and mainly relying on the natural recovery of the environment, he said.
China must pursue the vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development that is for everyone, accelerate forming spatial patterns, industrial structures, production and living modes that are resource-saving and environmental-friendly, and provide time and space for the natural ecology to rehabilitate, said Xi.
Sound ecological environment is the most inclusive benefits to people's wellbeing, he said, adding that priority should be given to addressing prominent environmental problems that are harmful to people's health in order to keep up with people's ever-growing needs for a better environment.
Noting that mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands are a life community, he said the building of ecological civilization must take all factors into consideration with good overall plans and multiple measures.
Protecting the environmental requires the best institutional arrangements and the strictest rule of law, Xi said, stressing that institutional innovations must be accelerated and enforcement of laws and regulations must be strengthened.
China should work together on global ecological civilization construction and get deeply involved in global environmental governance to come up with a worldwide solution for environmental protection and sustainable development, while guiding international cooperation to tackle climate change, he said.
In this March 28, 2018 photo, vehicles commute along a road during unusually high levels of dust in Beijing, China. (WANG ZHAO / AFP)
China should accelerate the construction of an ecological civilization system and the fostering of an ecological culture that values ecology and environment, said Xi.
The nation must speed up the construction of the ecological civilization system, to ensure that by 2035, there will be a fundamental improvement in the quality of the environment, and the goal of building a Beautiful China will be basically attained.
Xi called for comprehensive efforts to promote green development, which is not only an inevitable requirement to develop a modernized high-quality economy but also a fundamental solution to tackle pollution.
Key emphases of the work, he said, shall be adjusting economic structure and energy structure, optimizing the layout of the development of territorial space, improving the industrial layout in different regions and river valleys, fostering and expanding industries concerning energy conservation, environment protection, clean production and clean energy, encouraging simple, moderate, green, and low-carbon ways of life.
He said that prominent environmental problems shall be tackled firstly as they concern the people's wellbeing.
The top priority is winning the battle against air pollution to return the blue sky to the people, Xi said, calling for concerted efforts to basically eliminate heavy pollution days.
Action plan for the prevention and control of water pollution must be advanced to ensure the safety of drinking water, and black and odorous water shall be rarely seen in cities.
Comprehensive efforts must be taken to implement the action plan concerning the prevention and control of soil pollution, while key regions and sectors and major pollutants shall be targeted and the restoration of polluted soil shall be intensified so that people can have peace of mind about the food they eat and the place they live in.
Consistent efforts shall be made to improve rural living environments and preserve beautiful idyllic scenery in Chinese villages.
Xi called for effective prevention of ecological and environmental risks, as ecological and environmental security is an important part of national security, as well as an important guarantee to achieve sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese economy and society.
Ecological risk management shall become a regular practice while a whole-process and multi-level risk prevention system shall be put into place, he said.
Xi urged improved environmental governance, saying that China will make full use of market means, improve resources and environment pricing mechanisms, and strengthen support for public-private partnership projects.
Technological research will receive more support, and countermeasure study for major ecological and environmental issues will be initiated.
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China will also push forward building a fair, reasonable and win-win global climate governance system in promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.
Xi stressed the importance of strengthening the party's leadership in the urgent and tough battle against pollution.
Major leaders of local party committees and governments shall be held responsible for environmental protection in their own administrative regions, Xi said. A scientific and reasonable evaluation system will be established to assess the performance of officials, and those damaging the environment will be held accountable.
Addressing the meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that efforts must be made in line with the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to develop a system for building an ecological civilization, strengthen institutional building and the rule of law, and fight a good battle against pollution.
Delivering the concluding speech, Vice-Premier Han Zheng Han urged local governments and relevant departments to draw detailed plans and take feasible measures to implement the instructions of the meeting.
Also attending the meeting were several other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee – Wang Yang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Wang Huning, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, and Zhao Leji, secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.