China has ushered in its best period of time over the past century marked by robust economic growth and expanding global clout, but on everyone's lips at the ongoing national congress of the governing Communist Party of China (CPC) is "vigilance in peaceful time".
The sentiment of preparing for eventualities doesn't come out of thin air. As Chinese leader Hu Jintao pointed out Monday at the meeting where more than 2,000 Communist elite gathered to mull over the strategy for future, China has come to "a high starting point of our times" while the world gets much more complex.
Sustaining economy has been viewed as the top challenge during the open discussions over the following three days because excess expansion has taken heavy toll on the country's ecology, constantly throwing the government into emergency incidents that sparked a sudden explosion of public complaints over unsafe and deteriorating environment.
In one case, more than one million residents in Wuxi, eastern China's Jiangsu Province, found their tap water supply cut off by the sudden outbreak of the stenchy algae in China's third largest freshwater lake Taihu.
The pressure from outside China also grew as the country's huge appetite for energy and resources--5 percent of the world's coal equivalent, 30 percent of steel and 54 percent of cement annually-- triggered doubts and worries about the rise of another voracious power.
Fei Yunliang, a delegate to the congress and director of the Shandong Development and Reform Commission, said, "Breakneck growth at the costs of environment and ecology breached the laws of development, damaged productivity and would certainly incur a setback!"
The delegates did acknowledge the significance of the Scientific Outlook on Development and the proposal to nurture a conservation culture, but they also admitted its success would hinge upon the implementation in grass-root levels.
"It's easier said than done. In some places solving pollution problems brooks no delay. Only after economic growth juggernaut is completely discarded across the country can we breathe in fresher air," said delegate Wei Jiafu, president of the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company.