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Economic growth tied to environment protection

Updated: 2013-12-27 17:05

The government should strengthen constraints on environmental protection and intensify enforcement of laws and environmental degradation will face harsh punishment, President Xi Jinping stressed on the annual Central Economic Work Conference.

The 2013 Central Economic Work Conference, an annual tone-setting meeting of top Chinese leaders, opened in Beijing on Dec 10, 2013. The four-day meeting reviewed China's economic progress in 2013 and listed six major tasks for 2014.

According to the meeting, the country should also improve investments and policies on environmental management and ecological protection, expand the joint control and protection of various regions, promote the source management of air pollution and put preventative measures in place.

Just before the conference, ,a heavily polluted thick fog and haze that covered several provinces and regions raised questions about whether it would affect next year's economic growth target.

In addition to North China, this year thick fog and haze also shrouded the eastern coastal regions, where more efforts were made fr environment protection. Fog and haze is a national problem, not a regional one.

According to Tan Haojun, an economic commentator, although there are many high-tech enterprises in East China, and local governments put much effort into environment protection every year, polluting enterprises are everywhere. Furthermore, heavily polluting industries such as chemicals, paper making, steel, cement and power plants are still major industrial projects in the eastern China region. Pollution increases more quickly than GDP.

So, whether the priority is economic growth or environmental protection has become a focal point. However, the new government has a clear stance on this issue, that is to say, increase the tolerance to GDP growth, and set a reliable economic growth target on the basis of economic structure transformation. Economic growth and environmental protection should be linked.

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