CHINA / Official Publication

White Paper on Environmental Protection
Updated: 2006-06-05 10:27


The Chinese government and the Chinese people have made great efforts to protect the environment. But the Chinese government is fully aware of the grave situation of environmental protection in China, because the country is now at a stage of accelerated industrialization and urbanization when the contradiction between economic growth and environmental protection is particularly prominent. In some regions environmental pollution and ecological deterioration are still very serious. The discharge of major pollutants has surpassed the sustaining capacity of the environment. Water, land and soil pollution is serious, and pollution caused by solid wastes, motor vehicle emission and not easily degradable organic matter is increasing. In the first 20 years of the new century, China's population will keep growing, and its total economic volume will quadruple that of 2000. As the demand on resources from economic and social development is increasing, environmental protection is facing greater pressure than ever before.

Facing the mounting pressure on resources and the environment, the Chinese government has set forth the idea of taking the scientific outlook on development as the guiding principle for overall economic and social development. It calls for China to quicken its pace of building a resources-efficient, environmentally-friendly society, and to promote the harmonious development of man and nature. The Chinese government has placed resources saving and environmental protection in an important strategic position as it works out the country's development goals. In the 11th Five-Year Program for Economic and Social Development (2006-2010), China has clearly set forth its main goals for environmental protection for the next five years: By 2010, while the national economy will maintain a relatively stable and fast growth, the environmental quality of key regions and cities will be improved, and the trend toward ecological deterioration will be brought under control. Energy consumption per unit of GDP will decline by 20 percent compared with the end of the Tenth Five-Year Plan period. The total amount of major pollutants discharged will be reduced by ten percent, and forest coverage will be raised from 18.2 percent to 20 percent.

To achieve these goals, the Chinese government will make sure that the tasks to prevent and control water and air pollution are completed. It will strengthen the environmental protection of urban and rural areas and the protection of the eco-environment and ensure the safety of the nuclear and radioactive environments. It will undertake the key tasks of building national environmental protection projects and promote environmental protection work in an all-round way. The Chinese government will mobilize all forces available to solve the pollution problems that are causing serious harm to people's health. Its overriding task in the control and prevention of environmental pollution is to ensure that people have access to safe drinking water. It will take the most stringent measures to dispel potential risks of pollution of the sources of drinking water.

To achieve this goal, the Chinese government will actively speed up "three changes": First, change from emphasizing economic growth but ignoring environmental protection to emphasizing both environmental protection and economic growth; second, change from environmental protection lagging behind economic growth to synchronizing environmental protection and economic growth; and third, change from mainly employing administrative measures in environmental protection to comprehensive use of legal, economic, technical and necessary administrative measures to solve environmental problems. Economic, social and cultural systems will be established featuring stable economic growth, minimal cost to environmental resources and high awareness of the environment. As regards spatial distribution, economic growth and the sustaining capacity of the environment will be coordinated to form development patterns with their own characteristics. The functions of different regions will be clearly defined according to different requirements: whether it is a preferential development region, a key development region, a limited development region or a region where development is prohibited. Then different regions will work out their own development directions and goals for environmental protection. The Chinese government will make sure that the environment is effectively protected in the course of development, and that protective measures will in turn promote development. It will adhere to a policy of safe, clean and resources-efficient development so as to realize a sustainable development.

To achieve this goal, the Chinese government will stick to the principle of all-round development with breakthroughs in key areas. It will emphasize the principle of prevention first, and control pollution in a comprehensive manner. It will continue working to improve policies and legislation on environmental protection, and strictly supervise their implementation. Management of the environment will be strengthened according to law. Local governments' legal obligations for environmental quality will be reinforced. Environmental access will be tightened. Evaluation of the impact of planning and important decisions on the environment will be strengthened, so that environmental pollution and ecological destruction can be prevented right from the sources. It will make greater efforts to control pollution of key drainage areas, rivers, cities and offshore sea areas, and effectively improve the environmental quality there. Financial input will be increased by improving the system of government, enterprises and the general public investing in and financing environmental protection. It will encourage people to participate in environmental protection, and strengthen supervision by the people. China will establish an advanced environmental monitoring and early-warning system, and a sound environmental law enforcement and supervision system in an effort to enhance its early-warning capability in case of environmental emergencies, and to improve its all-round environmental supervision and management capabilities.

The importance of protecting the global environment has become the common understanding of people all over the world. China is a big, responsible developing country. Solving China's environmental problems is in keeping with China's development goals. It will contribute to the wellbeing of the 1.3 billion Chinese people, and it is also an important manifestation of the shared interest of mankind. The Chinese government and the Chinese people will join all other governments and peoples in the world in protecting the Earth -- our beautiful home.

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