Yin Yuzhen, who lives in the heart of the storm-ridden desert of Inner Mongolia, lives a completely different life from that of Bo Xilai, head of a Chinese province.
For 15 years, Yuzhen and her husband have devoted themselves to the fight against moving dunes by planting more than 300,000 trees, which shelter their home village from ferocious sand storms.
Meanwhile, Bo Xilai, now the governor of northeast China's Liaoning Province, had been working hard to face-lift the heavily-polluted Dalian when he served as the city mayor.
Thanks to comprehensive pollution-control measures advanced by Bo and his colleagues, Dalian turned into a garden city within several years and won the title of "Global Top 500" given by the United Nations Environment Program last year.
Today Yin Yuzhen, Bo Xilai and 14 others stood side by side to receive the China Environment Prize, the top honor in China to recognize those who have made significant contributions to environmental protection in the country.
It was the first time the China Environmental Protection Foundation, a non-governmental organization offering education and international exchange activities as well as awards, has presented the biennial prize nationwide.
Each final winner is awarded 100,000 yuan (US$12,000)and the other nominees receive 10,000 yuan(US$1209.69).
Organizer of a national afforestation activity along the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers, in which millions of youngsters get involved, and Governor Bo came out as the two final winners.
Apart from Yin Yuzhen, those who won the prize for nominees included a middle-school teacher who paid his own way to take photographs of endangered wild animals in west China; a retired official who spent about 20 years in spreading knowledge of environmental protection; and a scientist whose research results were widely adopted in for air pollution control.
Foreigners may also become the prize winners in the future if their work can greatly benefit the environmental protection work of China, according to Wang Yuqing, a member of the organizing committee of the prize.
(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2002)