China started on Sunday its 18th annual publicity week on energy saving with sustained efforts to invite more public participation.
Various activities were launched across the country to either publicize relevant laws and regulations to raise public awareness, or share and promote energy-saving practices to get more people involved.
In Beijing, residents in four districts were urged to buy energy-saving bulbs at a 90-percent discount.
People could get a 5-watt or 10-watt energy-saving bulb with one yuan (less than 15 U.S. cents). But the maximum purchase allowed was five, otherwise, they would have to pay the manufacture's price of six yuan to seven yuan for each bulb.
The discounts were financed by government subsidies. Similar promotions were reported in other regions such as Guangdong Province and Fujian Province.
In Xiamen, people lined up at the company selling the discounted bulbs, and they were allowed to buy 30 such bulbs. The local TV station said the queue was more than 100 meters long at 9 a.m. when the company started operation.
The central government said it would help spread the use of 150 million energy-saving bulbs with subsidies within three years. These bulbs are expected to save 29 billion kwh of electricity annually.
In Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, more than 10,000 people showed up to sign their names on a banner in support of the energy-saving efforts. They also got pamphlets and fabric bags from working staff there.
In Shanghai, lectures, demonstrations, consulting services on energy saving were staged in residential areas, and an on-line interview was initiated to take questions from the public. Civil servants were encouraged to take buses or pool office cars on public errands.
China has taken on a slew of moves to cut the country's energy consumption to achieve a more sustained growth, as well as to deal with its heavy reliance on energies and resources.
It has set the goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent during 2006 and 2010.
It also revised the law of energy saving, which came into effect April 1, to provide more specific and relevant legal support for the energy-saving campaign.
An official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Sunday the country would continue with policies that would help conserve energy, such as higher electricity prices for energy-guzzlers, preferential tax policies for imports of energy-saving equipment and more credit support to restructuring projects with energy-saving technologies.
The NDRC official said the country would also publish specific regulations and standards that go with the energy saving law as soon as possible, and vowed the country would put more punch into the law enforcement.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2008)