People should examine their modern lifestyle and make joint efforts to protect the planet, visiting German President Horst Kohler told Shanghai university students over the weekend.
He spoke at Tongji University on Saturday, as part of Tongji's centenary anniversary celebrations.
"People in developed countries have been living a lifestyle that violates sustainable development principles in the past decades. We have made many mistakes without noticing its harm to nature," Kohler said.
He added it took German people a long time to become aware of their mistakes. Now China is facing similar environmental challenges as Western countries did decades ago.
For instance, he said, industrial development in Europe used to cause serious pollution to the Rhine River in the 20th century, extinguishing many species of fish in the river. Nowadays in China, the white-fin dolphin in the Yangtze River is threatened with extinction due to water pollution, the president explained.
"We are glad to see the Chinese government has attached great importance to environmental protection. But the most important is to make sure all the policies are fully implemented," Kohler said.
The president also cited the traditional Chinese saying of "every man has a share of responsibility for the fate of his country" and Tongji's motto of "being in the same boat and help each other" in his speech, indicating that everyone has a part to play in environmental protection.
During the half-day visit at Tongji, Kohler unveiled a statue of Erich Paulun, a German doctor who founded Tongji's precursor German Medical School, at the university's Siping campus.
Kohler also launched a president's scholarship at Tongji's Sino-German college of applied science on Saturday. The scholarship will fund four elite Tongji students to study in Germany for one or two semesters each year over the next three years.
The German president left Shanghai on Saturday, concluding his first state visit to China since taking office.
In Shanghai, Kohler also rode the Maglev train, the world's first commercial Maglev train based on German technology.
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2007)