The Chinese government now regards environmental protection as a “basic state policy.” The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Environmental Protection, the first of its kind in China, was adopted in 1979, and officially promulgated in 1989. In 1984, the State Environmental Protection Commission was established, and in 1993 the Environment and Resources Committee of the NPC Standing Committee was officially founded. To date, the Chinese government has enacted 12 laws and over 20 regulations on environmental protection, as well as 250 environmental standards. Huge achievements have been made in industrial and urban pollution control, and environmental pollution has been brought under control in some areas.
In recent years, people’s awareness of environmental protection has seen an unprecedented upsurge, and an increasing number of people have begun to make efforts for environmental protection and given their support to the government’s work in this regard. A national social survey published by the environmental protection authorities at the end of 2001 shows that, at present, 98 percent of Chinese people are concerned and talk about environmental protection issues, and most of them participated in environmental protection activities in 2001. In the cities around China, residents consciously use cloth bags instead of plastic ones, take care not to litter, or contribute to the fight against sandstorms by volunteering to plant trees and grass.
The Chinese government has adopted various measures to curb environmental pollution, with the ratio of environmental protection funds in the GDP rising from 0.72 percent in the 1980s to one percent both in 1999 and 2000, which was higher than the UN standard of 0.8 percent for developing countries and close to that for developed countries.