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Environmental protection and equal opportunity urged, for a change
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"Despite the efforts made by various administrations and other organizations, China's environmental picture is worsening," said Wan Exiang, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, at a panel discussion on Thursday to deliberate on Premier Wen's government report.

Wan is also the Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang and Vice President of the Supreme Court of China. He said that China is in the midst of environmental crisis, citing the water situation of Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, as an example.

He lashed out at the local departments saddled with bureaucracy when delaying solutions for water pollution. Ten marine courts exist to focus primarily on pollution cases occurring in Chinese river basins. "I have long suggested giving the marine court a wider jurisdiction over water pollution cases. This would enable the court to exert greater controls in reinforcing environmental law," he asserted.

Wan also dipped into the theme of social equality. "Calling for equal opportunity in education and employment is not a constant refrain. It is one of the most acute issues concerning the average citizen. As we now, many female graduates fresh from university find their employment paths blocked. I know there are Equal Opportunity Commissions in many other countries and regions such as the U.S. and Hong Kong. I think it is feasible to emulate them and establish such institutions in some selected cities as part of a pilot program," he said.

"As non-Communist party members, we are held accountable for addressing public concerns and anxieties. We should try to help the government work out a solution through pooling our ideas," he added at the end of his speech.

(China.org.cn by staff reporter He Shan, March 7, 2008)

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