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UN body names Chinese actor Li Chen goodwill ambassador

By Yan Dongjie | | Updated: 2017-09-14 19:51

UN body names Chinese actor Li Chen goodwill ambassador

Erik Solheim presents the nomination to Li Chen in Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo by Yan Dongjie/]

The United Nations Environment Programme nominated a popular Chinese actor as the national goodwill ambassador to Beijing on Wednesday.

As the new envoy, Li Chen, a 39-year-old movie star and producer, will help promote campaigns initiated by UNEP, such as "Breathe Life" and the Clean Seas", raising awareness of environmental and conservation issues in China and calling for public participation to beat pollution and moving together toward a pollution-free planet.

"When some influencers, people like Li Chen do this, they are heard and inspire hearts in a way that I can never imagine to do it. They amplify our voices, they amplify the actions that each one of us need to take," said Naysan Sabha, director of UN Environment Communication Division.

He said that Li is recognized as one of the most influential Chinese voices in charity.

Li has been active and vocal on environmental issues in China. The posts focused on environment and public issues on his weibo account received more than one billion views in 2015. Li was named as the "ambassador for environmental protection" of Beijing in March last year, and attended the second meeting of the UN Environment Assembly, the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, last year in Nairobi, Kenya.

"I grew up in Beijing, and have witnessed how the environment changed in the past years… I feel sad, as well as pressured and realize the importance of protecting the environment, especially the air," Li said in his speech after the nomination ceremony in Beijing.

According to Li Xiaohua, deputy director general of Beijing Environment Protection Bureau, the average PM2.5 density level in Beijing has dropped by 23.7 percent at the end of 2016.

"This year is the last year of this five-year plan and air quality in Beijing has improved during this period," Li Xiaohua said, adding that from January to August this year, PM2.5 density level in Beijing has dropped to the lowest level in nearly five years.

Erik Solheim, the executive director of UN Environment, recognized and praised China's efforts to environmental protection.

"There has been enormous improvement in China's environmental issues. I know that the government is dedicated to reducing pollution. I'm very optimistic," Solheim said.

Zhao Ruinan contributed to the story.

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