The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) will be restructured and renamed the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said Wang Yuqing, a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the former vice minister of the SEPA, yesterday during a group discussion of the CPPCC annual session.
The restructuring reveals that the central government has given priority to environmental protection, according to Wang.
SEPA is one of a few administrations that will be promoted to the ministerial level. As one of the departments of the State Council, China's cabinet, the new Ministry of Environmental Protection will be involved in more overall policy-making. The administration's personnel, functions and ways of establishing environmental protection agencies will all be improved, Wang said.
China's environmental protection development over the past 30 years
1978: The State Council Leading Group Office for Environmental Protection was established, under the division of the National Construction Committee of China.
1982: The Office was reorganized into an environmental protection bureau, located under the then Ministry of Urban and Rural Construction and Environmental Protection.
1984: The Bureau was renamed the National Environmental Protection Agency, still under the division of the Ministry of Construction.
1987: the National Environmental Protection Agency was restructured and promoted to an independent agency at deputy ministerial level directly under the State Council.
I998: The National Environmental Protection Agency was renamed SEPA, and became a ministerial level government department.
(China.org.cn by Yang Xi, March 10, 2008)