Xi tackles pollution on two fronts

Xi tackles pollution on two fronts

Chinese president says action will be taken on political and environmental issues causing most concern

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on Friday to clear up two kinds of pollution — political and environmental — that have caused the most public concern.

Xi’s promise came as he joined discussions with lawmakers from Jiangxi province.

He called for particular efforts to tackle officials’ improper behaviour at grassroots level, amid China’s sweeping anti-graft campaign that has cracked down on both “tigers” and “flies”— powerful leaders and lowly officials.

Supervision of officials, especially those from the Party, should be strengthened, Xi said while reviewing the work report of the State Council with National People’s Congress deputies from Jiangxi.

The eastern province is renowned for its contribution to the success of China’s communist revolution. For instance, in 1927 late leader Mao Zedong established a rural base in Jinggangshan for the revolution.

But such achievements have been somewhat tarnished, as several senior officials who have been seized are linked to Jiangxi.

A major shift in the province’s political landscape has taken place since a team from the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection was sent to Jiangxi in May 2013.

The biggest “tiger” among these officials is Su Rong, a vice-chairman of China’s top political advisory body and former Jiangxi Party chief.

Su and his wife are suspected to have profited tremendously from bribery and illegal land deals when Su worked in the inland province.

On Thursday, Qiang Wei, the Jiangxi Party chief and an NPC deputy, pledged zero tolerance for corruption and said Su’s tenure of nearly a decade in the province had corrupted some local officials and the political environment.

On Friday, when Qiang reported last year’s encouraging economic performance, Xi said these achievements show that the anti-graft campaign does not undermine economic development, but instead is conducive to continuing healthy development.

Despite a growth rate that was higher than that of many inland provinces last year, Jiangxi remains a less-developed area and faces the task of lifting millions of people out of poverty.

Xi asked deputies about transportation and livelihoods in their hometowns and called for resolute and increased efforts to speed up development in these areas.

He also vowed to take strong action against any polluters during such development. “We are going to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or the environment, with no exceptions,” Xi said.

He asked people to protect ecology and the environment in the same way they would care for their “own eyes and lives”, showing his resolve to curb widespread pollution.

His remarks echoed the Government Work Report, delivered on Thursday, which said the nation will cut carbon dioxide intensity by at least 3.1 per cent this year.

Long Bozhou, Party chief of Jinggangshan, said the city, with a forest coverage proportion of 86 per cent, aims to boost agricultural and “red” tourism, which are both environmentally friendly.

Publication Date : 07-03-2015

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