Xie Zhenhua, minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said achieving sustainable development is the inevitable choice for China.
Xie said sustainable development had been a term unfamiliar to Chinese people for a fairly long period. In the past, people, with the simple aim of getting food, destroyed the ecological balance with activities such as converting too much land for crops and by filling lakes.
Environmental pollution accelerated and the ecology worsened in the early 1990s, putting the breaks on economic development and menacing the health of the general public.
In March 1994, China enacted its 21st century agenda and issued a series of documents on environmental protection.
The idea of sustainable development was then introduced into the overall blueprint and long-term plan for the country's economic and social development.
In recent years, China has made unremitting efforts to control population growth, improve the ecological status and curb environmental pollution, the report said.
(China Daily November 12, 2002)