China's top legislator Li Peng on Thursday urged the country to abide by laws on mineral resources, and protect and make efficient use of such resources.
Li made the speech at a meeting of inspection teams organized by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, for a planned tour of four provincial areas.
Li, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said that China faced a critical situation in sustainable use of its mineral resources.
He explained that per-capita mineral resources in China were about half of the world's average and there was much room for the country to protect its mineral resources.
Li noted that the planned inspection tours would help raise awareness of the problems, and ensure that laws on mineral resources were followed to the letter.
They might also help the legislature investigate the mineral resources situation and further improve the laws, he said.
The Chinese economy has been growing at about 10 percent annually over the past two decades and the country's demand for mineral resources has been increasing rapidly.
China has turned from an oil exporter into a net importer of crude oil during the past two decades.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2002)