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Chinese youths spar over global environment concerns
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Picture this: United States delegates being the first to agree with their counterparts from arch rival Cuba on an environmental concern.

Impossible? Not for participants of the Soundgroup Cup 2007 Beijing Model United Nations (MUN) Conference on Saturday.

Participants at the mock UN conference raise their cards for the chance to speak. (photo: China Daily)

The three-day event, organized by the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) and opened last Friday, saw more than 200 students from close to 40 universities and high schools in the country acting as delegates from different countries to debate on global issues.

Under the theme of "One Earth, One Family", topics of the mock debates ranged from the rise of sea levels to sustainable development.

The president of the CFAU Model UN Association and a master's student in international relations, Kong Feifei, singled out raising environmental awareness as a key goal of the event.

"As a major topic of discussion, environmental protection is critical in fast-developing countries such as China," Kong said.

"We hope all the delegates get a deeper understanding of how to increase their awareness of environmental protection and put their knowledge into practice."

Beijing Normal University master's student Cheng Xiangdong, who was "representing" the Netherlands, said "such event provides a good opportunity to raise awareness of environmental protection among all Chinese university students".

Wen Yibo, the chairman of Beijing Sound Environmental Group LTD which co-hosted of the event, said countries still disagreed on what global warming meant and how to deal with it, and it was an opportune time to address these issues.

Kishan Khoday from the United Nations Development Program told China Daily the conference almost seemed like an extension of the General Assembly meeting held in New York City last month, where global climate was also a key concern.

Khoday cited the importance of the event with China now being one of the key partners in the UN to address the issue.

"Today's topic of climate change in particular will allow young Chinese and future leaders to form their own solutions and let them think creatively to balance the interests of different countries."

(China Daily November 12, 2007)

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