Usher in a New Era of Ecological Progress

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China I Updated: 2021-12-10

Usher in a New Era of Ecological Progress* 

May 24, 2013 

Our efforts for ecological conservation and environmental protection will benefit future generations. We must be aware that it is a pressing and difficult task to protect the environment and control pollution, and that it is important and necessary to advance ecological progress. We must take a responsible attitude towards our people and future generations, be resolute in controlling environmental pollution, strive to usher in a new era of ecological progress and improve the environment for our people to live and work in. 

Ecological progress is of vital importance to the future of the nation and the wellbeing of its people. The 18th National Congress of the CPC listed ecological progress along with economic, political, cultural and social progress as the five goals in the overall plan for the cause of Chinese socialism, vowing to promote ecological progress to build a beautiful China and achieve lasting and sustainable development of the Chinese nation. 

To promote ecological progress, we must comprehensively implement the guiding principles of the Party's 18th National Congress, and take Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of the Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development as our guide. We must raise awareness of the need to respect, protect, and accommodate ourselves to nature, follow the basic state policy of resource conservation and environmental protection, and give high priority to conserving resources, protecting the environment and promoting its natural restoration. We must dedicate ourselves to raising our ecological awareness, enhancing relevant systems, safeguarding ecological security, and improving the environment. We must preserve our geographical space and streamline our industrial structure, our mode of production, and our way of life in the interest of resource conservation and environmental protection. 

We must strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection, and bear in mind that protecting the environment equates to protecting productivity and that improving the environment also equates to developing productivity. We will be more conscientious in promoting green, circular, and low-carbon development. We will never again seek economic growth at the cost of the environment. 

It is through land use that ecological progress can be advanced. Maintaining a balance between population, resources and the environment, and promoting economic, social and ecological efficiency, we will determine an overall plan for developing our land, and allot space to production, to daily life, and to ecological development as appropriate, in order to leave more space for nature's self-restoration. We will accelerate the work of functional zoning, follow the functional definitions of different areas where development must be optimized, prioritized, restricted, or forbidden, and delimit and strictly enforce ecological red lines. We will work out appropriate plans for urbanization, agricultural development and ecological security to safeguard national and regional ecological security, and improve services for ecological conservation. We must fully understand the importance of enforcing ecological red lines. Any violations regarding environmental protection will be punished. 

Resource conservation is a fundamental way to protect the environment. We will conserve resources and use them efficiently, bring about a fundamental change in the way resources are utilized, increase conservation efforts in all respects, and drastically reduce the consumption of energy, water and land resources per unit of GDP. We will vigorously develop a circular economy to reduce waste and resource consumption, re-use resources, and recycle waste in the process of production, distribution and consumption. 

We will launch major projects to restore the ecosystem, and increase our capacity for producing eco-friendly products. A sound ecological environment is the basic foundation for the sustainable development of humanity and society. The public are greatly concerned about the environment. So we should place emphasis on serious environmental problems that pose health hazards to the people, and take a holistic approach to intensifying the prevention and control of water, air and soil pollution, with the focus on water pollution in key river basins and regions, and on air pollution in key industrial sectors and areas. 

We must have the strictest possible institutions and legislation in place in order to guarantee ecological progress. To do this, we should first of all improve the evaluation norms for economic and social development to include resource consumption, environmental damage, ecological benefits and other indicators that can be used to assess ecological improvement, and use them to direct and shape our ecological work. We will establish an accountability system, and call to account officials whose ill-judged decisions have caused serious ecological damage. 

We will increase publicity and education on the need to promote ecological progress, raise public awareness of the need to conserve resources and protect the environment, and foster a social atmosphere of cherishing our environment. 

* Main points of the speech at the sixth group study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee which Xi presided over. 

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