Gov't Pays Attention to Ecology Concerns

From farm production reform to environmental protection at the Three Gorges, the advice of members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has been seriously considered by policy-makers when drawing up the country's development plans.

"The relevant State departments responded quickly to my proposals on restructuring farm production and invited me to discuss the issues with concerned officials," said Liu Hongbin, a CPPCC member from Panjin, a city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

He made the remarks while attending the on-going annual session of the national committee of the advisory body.

Liu, pleased by the progress of his ideas, is Panjin's vice- mayor in charge of agriculture and became an expert on the problems of farmers.

Their biggest concern is low grain prices, a market condition caused by the excess grain supply, Liu said.

To solve the problem, Liu suggested a production system overhaul in which some grain production is replaced with cash crops and other non-agriculture industries.

Liu also suggested a practice aimed at increasing farmers' income by having farmers produce grain on a contract basis and abolish some administrative fees.

Liu and other CPPCC members submitted those suggestions through the CPPCC National Committee in the past two sessions and said they received quick responses from the State Development Planning Commission, drafter of the newly issued Outline of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05).

Now the essence of his suggestions can be found in the draft 10th Five-Year Plan.

Liu wasn't the only CPPCC member to have been so satisfied.

A total of 3,733 proposals submitted since last year, about 98 per cent of which have been handled seriously.

Among them were Chen Yatang's proposal to control the water pollution at the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam construction area.

"The control of water pollution at that area has started now," said Chen, a CPPCC member from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

After the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, water flow in the upper reach of the Yangtze River will slow and micro-organisms will settle, causing water pollution, Chen said.

Large amount of waste rock residue left from the dam construction and the polluted water will also threaten local water quality, he added.

His proposal garnered attention from both the State Environmental Protection Administration and the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee under the State Council.

The administration carefully studied his idea and included the opinion in the ecological protection section of the 10th Five-Year Plan.

Common people also have had the ear of the policy-makers.

In October, the State Development Planning Commission announced efforts to assess public opinion. To date, the commission has received 17,000 letters from the public.

Many opinions, such as suggestions to increase manufacturing of large-scale equipment and better use of marine resources, are now part of the draft plan.

(China Daily 03/08/2001)