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Blind People Get Involved, Planting Trees on Arbor Day
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As March 12, China's Arbor Day, came for the 29th time this year, people across China have been thinking of various ways to plant more trees and beautify the land.

A dozen blind people went to a park in central China's Hunan Province on the day and planted 21 white pines to form a "Blind People's Forest".

Led by young volunteers, the blind people came to Martyrs' Park in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, carefully digging, planting trees, filling up with dirt, watering and fixing up the white pines, xinhuanet.com reported.

Mao Jia, a blind masseur who initiated the planting activity, said though they could not see the green, they know a forest can help produce cleaner air and make people feel good and comfortable.

In Chongqing Municipality of Southwest China, two senior citizens, who carelessly set a fire that left a mountainside pine forest in ashes, asked the judges to allow them to plant trees as their punishment instead of sending them to prison.

Qiu Tianshi, 64, and Zhou Xinlong, 67, went to Wuzhou Mountain near their home in Zhongxian County to plant the last batches of trees on February 8. They then asked local judges to see whether they had met the required quota, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.

Last year, the fire Qiu and Zhou set on Wuzhou Mountain caused economic losses of 50,000 yuan ($6,410) to the local township.

Judges at the No 2 Intermediate People's Court of Chongqing sentenced Qiu to four years of probation and Zhou to three years of probation instead of three-year prison terms for both of them.

Cheng Shiyong, an officer in the Forest Police Department of Zhongxian County, said the two men had finished their promised work.

According to the State Forestry Administration (SFA), China planted 5.23 million hectares of trees in 2006, bringing the nation's forest total to 175 million hectares.

In 2010, the forest coverage will reach 20 percent in China, SFA spokesman Cao Qingyao said. On March 12, SFA Minister Jia Zhibang called for people to plant still more trees in China.

(China Daily March 16, 2007)

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