Press conference on reform and development of emergency management in the new era

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Zhou Xuewen, vice minister of emergency management

Song Yuanming, vice minister of emergency management

Qiong Se, member of the CPC Committee of the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) and head of the Fire and Rescue Department of the MEM


Chen Wenjun, spokesperson of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)


Aug. 30, 2022

Chen Wenjun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee. Today, we are holding the 26th press conference under the theme of "China in the past decade" to brief you on the reform and development of emergency management in the new era. Joining us today are Mr. Zhou Xuewen, vice minister of emergency management; Mr. Song Yuanming, vice minister of emergency management; and Mr. Qiong Se, a member of the CPC Committee of the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) and head of the MEM's Fire and Rescue Department.

Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Zhou Xuewen for his introduction.

Zhou Xuewen:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the press, good morning. I am very pleased to meet you. First, on behalf of the MEM, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your interest in and support for the development in emergency management.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has attached great importance to emergency management, and General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important remarks and major decisions in this regard. In particular, while deepening the reform of the Party and state institutions in 2018, the CPC Central Committee decided to establish the MEM and a national comprehensive fire and rescue team , leading to systematic and holistic reconstruction of as well as historic achievements and transformation in China's emergency management system. The following four achievements are especially remarkable:

First, an emergency management system with Chinese features has been basically established. We have upheld and strengthened the Party's overall leadership over emergency management, enhanced comprehensive and whole-process emergency management as well as optimized management of forces and resources, basically forming a versatile, responsive emergency management system with Chinese characteristics featuring unified command and coordination across different levels. We have given play to comprehensive strengths of emergency management departments and professional strengths of relevant departments, and strengthened the integration of centralized and decentralized management, coordination of prevention and rescue as well as cooperation across different levels. Various working mechanisms have been established to improve the effectiveness of emergency management, such as joint risk consultation and evaluation, integration of prevention, rescue and relief efforts, as well as streamlined and efficient emergency command. For example, from 2018 to 2021, the average annual number of people killed and missing in natural disasters across the country dropped by 51.6% from that of the previous five years, with the new systems and mechanisms playing an important role.

Second, capacity for comprehensive emergency management has been improved across the board. In accordance with the goals and requirements of unified leadership, power being commensurate with responsibility, and remaining authoritative and efficient, we have comprehensively enhanced the emergency response capacity in such areas as emergency teams, command platforms, material support and information technology assistance. The national comprehensive fire and rescue team has accelerated its transformation and upgrading to respond to all kinds of disasters and to coordinate various emergency forces and resources. It has created more than 3,500 new professional teams to fight diverse disasters including earthquakes as well as water and mountain-related disasters, developed and equipped themselves with advanced technologies and equipment, and enhanced their modern and comprehensive rescue capacities. By actively promoting the construction of an emergency command system, we have basically established the national emergency command headquarters, and fully built an emergency command information network covering the four levels of ministry, province, city and county as well as the top-down emergency command platform system. As a result, direct command and dispatch via video link on the spot is now possible whenever a major disaster or emergency occurs. We have continued to modernize emergency management through information technology, built emergency resource management platforms, and comprehensively monitored coal mines, hazardous chemicals and other major sources of danger through the internet, accelerating the efforts to boost the role of big data in ensuring safety.

Third, prevention and control of major safety risks has been effectively intensified. We have devoted time and energy in ordinary times and enhanced checks and inspections closer to the sources to root out potential incidents. In terms of disaster prevention, reduction and relief, we have implemented nine key projects for natural disaster prevention and control in a coordinated manner. For example , we have organized the first national comprehensive survey of natural disaster risks, implemented a project to reinforce housing in earthquake-prone areas, and built and renovated a number of forest firebreaks, isolation zones, landing fields and reservoirs, enhancing the disaster prevention and control capacity. In response to the challenges brought by the increasing number of more extreme weather disasters, we have considered the worst-case scenarios, strengthened the coordination between early warning and emergency response, and established a "call and response" early warning mechanism that can reach those in charge at the primary level. By doing so, we can evacuate people under threat in advance, and at the same time guide the public to prepare for disaster prevention and risk aversion. In terms of workplace safety, we have held fast to the safety redline and established a long-term mechanism for regular and strict management. We have issued regulations on workplace safety accountability for local Party and government leaders, formulated and implemented 15 tough measures for workplace safety, and improved the oversight mechanism for new business forms and models. We have vigorously promoted reform of workplace safety law enforcement, and launched a special three-year campaign for workplace safety rectification and other special rectification campaigns in key industries and areas, so as to address both the symptoms and root causes, and fundamentally raise the safety level. 

Fourth, we have effectively dealt with a series of major disasters and accidents. We have always stayed ready as emergency personnel, and strengthened emergency preparedness in an all-round manner from emergency planning to force prepositioning and other aspects, so as to rush to the frontline at critical times. In the past, fire rescue teams were required to board vehicles in one minute and reach their destination in five minutes. Now, advance risk assessment and force prepositioning have not only increased the efficiency of the rescue work, but also made it more targeted and effective. In cases of serious and major disasters or accidents that are complicated and highly hazardous, heads of the MEM must go straight to the scene to guide the rescue efforts. Since its establishment, the MEM has organized 997 emergency consultations, launched 330 emergency responses and dispatched 414 emergency working groups. Through these efforts, we have effectively addressed a series of severe and major disasters and accidents, including barrier lakes in the Jinsha River and the Yarlung Zangbo River, severe floods that hit the Yangtze River region in 2020 , earthquakes  that struck Yangbi Yi autonomous county of Yunnan province and Maduo county of Qinghai province, forest fires in Nyingchi of Tibet autonomous region, a chemical plant explosion in Xiangshui county of Jiangsu province, a hotel collapse in Quanzhou city of Fujian province, the Hushan gold mine explosion in Qixia city of Shandong province, and the collapse of a self-built residential building in Changsha city of Hunan province. These efforts have minimized the loss of life and property.

Over the past decade, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, emergency management has seen remarkable achievements. Workplace accidents and their deaths in 2021 decreased by 56.8% and 45.9% from 2012, and annual accidents have declined for 10 years in a row. From 2013 to 2021, the annual average deaths and missing people, collapsing houses, and the proportion of direct economic losses in GDP from natural disasters fell 87.2%, 87.4%, and 61.7%, respectively, from the 2000-2012 level.

However, we know clearly that emergency management still faces a long and arduous journey ahead. Natural disasters are still frequent, and some are serious; difficulties in ensuring workplace safety are hard to overcome; risks and hidden dangers are various. In the future, the emergency management system will unite more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and put the people and their lives first. We will continue to push ahead with reforms, prevent and control major risks to the best of our ability, and modernize the emergency management system and capacity at a faster pace, all in a bid to create a safe environment for China's journey toward building a modern socialist country in all respects and set the stage for the 20th National Congress of the CPC with concrete actions.

Now, my colleagues and I would like to take your questions. Thank you.

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