Treat environment 'as our lifeline', Xi says

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Chinese President Xi Jinping joins a group deliberation of deputies from Qinghai Province to the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 10, 2016. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen) 

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater environmental protection, poverty relief and development in the country's ethnic regions Thursday.

He made the remarks when joining national lawmakers from the northwestern province of Qinghai during the annual parliamentary session.

Xi listened to opinions from eight lawmakers on green development, medical reforms, equal access to education, ethnic unity and targeted poverty relief.

He called on authorities to adopt an overall and long-term view on environmental protection and promote green lifestyles.

"We should protect the environment like protecting our eyes and treat the environment the way we treat our lives," the president said.

He urged concerted efforts to tackle poverty and ensure the needy people in the rural and pasture regions are lifted out of poverty by 2020, the year when China's 13th Five-Year Plan draws to a close.

Poverty relief should be targeted and have an emphasis on education, to ensure the people will not return to poverty, he said.

More efforts shall be made to improve the infrastructure in the ethnic regions and develop industries with local characteristics and competitive edges, to enhance the regions' ability of self-development, he said.

Xi also emphasized respecting ethnic differences and cultural diversity.

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