The Chinese Government
has given environmental protection high status as officials
draft the nation's long-term development programme, Vice-Premier
Wen Jiabao said in Beijing.
China has made significant gains in environmental protection,
with largely expanding investment and speedy development in
treating pollution during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000),
He made the remarks at the opening session of the three-day
Third Meeting of the Second Phase of the China Council for International
Co-operation and Development (CCICED). The group is a high-level
advisory body to the Chinese Government on the co-ordination
of the environment and industrial development.
About 100 environmental and economic experts from home and abroad
discussed the co-ordination of economic development and environmental
protection in the coming century and will give recommendations
on the formulation of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-2005).
The Chinese Government has implemented active financial policies
and invested a large amount of money in controlling pollution
and eco-construction, according to Wen.
More than 72 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) was injected into
pollution treatment in 1998, up 43 per cent from the same period
Actions to treat some serious pollution sources, including the
Huaihe River, Taihu and Dianchi lakes, have helped in improving
Some 65 percent of industrial waste water discharge and 66 percent
of industrial gas emissions have met state-set standards around
the country, said the vice-premier.
China will continue to carry out its water conservation plans,
soil erosion treatment, desertification prevention and eco-agriculture
construction, Wen said.
Jilia Marton-Lefevre, executive director of an international
environmental group and a member of CCICED, said it is rare
in developed countries for a government to place environmental
protection at such a high level.