China has made great progress in its environmental protection
thanks to the joint efforts of the government and the public,
according to Gerd Leipold, the Global Executive Director of
But he also urged the Chinese government to take a more serious
view on climate change by promoting the use of renewable
Leipold is in Beijing this week attending a forum on corporate
"There is a much stronger sense of environmental awareness among
politicians, academics, journalists, the youth, especially
students, and the population at large," Leipold said.
"The government is excellent when it comes to environmental
protection. For example, their response to the chemical spill in
the Songhua River last year was very impressive.
"China's environmental legislation, compared with that of other
countries, is quite good, and enforcement is also good," he
Greenpeace, one of the most influential environmental
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the world, lists China as
one of the most strategically important countries in the world.
"It is not only because of China's fast growth," Leipold said,
"but also because it is a test case of whether another model of
development can succeed.
"If China follows the old Western model of first getting rich by
exploiting its environment and then using the wealth to make up for
the damage, it will have disastrous consequences."
Leipold called climate change one of the greatest threats to the
To that end, he said that China took a positive step by holding
the large renewable energy conference last year, but more need to
be done. And Greenpeace can help by providing more information.
Leipold also urged enterprises in China to pursue not only
quality in manufacturing but also environmentally friendly
processes for the sake of people's health and the environment.
Last year, Greenpeace urged international food companies not to
use genetically modified materials and pushed IT companies to agree
not to use toxic materials in their manufacturing processes.
China is playing an increasingly important role in the
country," according to Deng Guosheng, director of the NGO Research
Center at Tsinghua
"Although some of its methods were considerably aggressive when
it first started in China, it has shifted its focus to
strengthening cooperation with the government, and winning the
trust of consumers. Since Greenpeace insists on not accepting
sponsorships from companies, it is independent, and will take tough
action against companies found to be destroying the
(China Daily February 24, 2006)