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SEPA Minister Zhou Shengxian Called on Unremitting Efforts in Earnestly Advancing the Environmental Protection Historic Transformations

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) held the Meeting for Learning and Implementing the Spirit of the 17th National Congress of the CPC today. Mr. Zhou Shengxian, Minister of the SEPA, member of the Central Committee of the CPC and Secretary of the Leading Party Group of the SEPA attended and addressed the meeting.

Minister Zhou first conveyed the gist of the 7th Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the CPC, the 17th National Congress of the CPC and the 1st Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee. He said that the 17th National Congress of the CPC was a meeting of great significance held at the crucial time in the reform and development process of China. Guided by Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory and the though of "Three Represents", the report delivered by President Hu Jintao on behalf of the 16th Central Committee of the CPC fully implements the scientific outlook on development, answers the major questions of which banner should the CPC hold, what path should it take, what kind of spiritual attitude should it have and what development goals should it pursue at the crucial time of reform and development of the CPC in a scientific way, makes full-range deployment on further advancement of reform and opening up and the construction of socialist modernization and fully realizing the grand goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way and spells out the requirements on advancing the grand new project of the construction of the CPC in full swing inspired by the spirit of reform and renovation. The report depicts the magnificent blueprint of furthering the building of a well-off society in full scale and speeding up the promotion of socialist modernization in the new era and points out the direction for us in further promoting the development of the undertaking of the CPC and the State. It is the political statement and action guideline for the CPC to lead the people of all ethnic groups to resolutely take the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and continue to develop the socialism with Chinese characteristics at the new historical starting point, and it's also the guiding document embodying Marxism. It is decided during the 17th National Congress that the goal of the Party's basic line is to be defined as "making China a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country" in the Party's Constitution. This has great significance to obtaining the victory of building a well-off society in an all-round way and opening up new prospects for the socialist undertaking with Chinese characteristics.

Minister Zhou indicated that the report made by President Hu Jintao emphasizes the requirements of full implementation of scientific outlook on development, promotion of sound and fast development of the national economy, speeding up the socialist construction centered on the improvement of people's livelihood and putting environmental protection at the key strategic position. First, it treats "the excessively high cost of resources and the environment for economic growth" as the top problem when analyzing the difficulties and problems on the way ahead and incorporates environmental protection in the top agenda of the Party and the State. Second, it regards environmental protection as the major task of sound and fast economic development by stressing "we must adopt an enlightened approach to development that results in expanded production, a better life and sound ecological and environmental conditions, and build a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society". Third, it presents the target that "we will quadruple the per capita GDP of the year 2000 by 2020 through optimizing the economic structure and improving economic returns while reducing consumption of resources and protecting the environment" when putting forward the new requirements for the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way, which reflects the development strategy with the top priority on environmental protection. Fourth, it stages the idea of "building conservation culture" for the first time and puts it as a new and higher request for building a well-off society in an all-round way, clearly states that "the discharge of major pollutants will be brought under effective control and the ecological and environmental quality will improve notably, and awareness of conservation will be firmly established in the whole of society". Fifth, it makes special deployment on the construction of a resource-saving and environment-friendly society by highlighting that "we will improve laws and policies to promote energy, resources, ecological and environmental conservation, and speed up the formation of systems and mechanisms for sustainable development. We will implement the responsibility system for conserving energy and reducing emissions", and the report also stipulates specific requirements on such works as developing environmental protection industry, increasing the spending on energy conservation and environmental protection as well as the establishment and perfection of the paid use system of resources and the eco-environment compensation mechanism. Sixth, it incorporates environmental issues in the content of China's foreign relation by underscoring that "on environmental issues, every country should assist and cooperate with each other in conservation efforts to take good care of the earth, the only home of human beings". It was also adopted at the 17th National Congress that the goal of "building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society" shall be included in the Amendment to the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. All these fully demonstrate that as a basic state policy, environmental protection has been really mainstreamed in the major line, battlefield and stage of national economic and social activities, and the environmental protection cause of China has embraced very rare and precious historic opportunity.

Minister Zhou indicated that by learning the spirits of the 17th National Congress of the CPC, we should further raise our sense of responsibility and mission for proper handling of environmental protection works. First, we should further raise our understanding of the importance of environmental protection. Strengthening environmental protection is the self-motivated implementation of scientific outlook on development, the key task for sound and fast development of national economy, major content in realizing the new requirements on building a well-off society in full scale and a key measure in coping with economic globalization. Second, we must continue to put all efforts in promoting the historic transformation. We should properly deal with the relation between environmental protection and economic development, treat environmental protection as the inherent component of economic development so as to alter the relation of the two from contradiction to harmony and the work of environmental protection from being passive to active. We must always consider environmental problems from national macro-strategic perspective, fully materialize the request of environmental protection through the process from production, distribution to consumption and promptly make formulation of environment-related economic policies based on research. We must adhere to the principle of full-range advancement with key point breakthrough, give top priority to water, air and soil pollution prevention and treatment and regard the work of safeguarding drinking water safety of the public as the primary task. Third, we must take strenuous efforts in doing energy conservation and emission reduction work and other works underway. Centered on the strategic deployment of "letting rivers, lakes, ponds and oceans have a rest", we must make full-scale arrangement with unified planning and overall considerations in a bid to fight the five major battles of "project prohibition within certain environment-sensitive water basins", comprehensive treatment of the water environmental of key lakes, water pollution prevention and control of major water basins, industrial pollution prevention and control as well as environmental protection in rural areas.

Minister Zhou further added that, during the present time and a certain period in the future, the environmental protection work system must put the political task of learning, popularizing and implementing the gist of the 17th National Congress of the CPC on the top agenda and make unremitting efforts in practically advancing the historic transformation of environmental protection. First, we must fully accommodate to the actual situation, stick to the principle of studying for the purpose of application and arm our mind, direct our practice and promote environmental protection works in light of the spirit of the 17th National Congress of the CPC. Second, we must grasp the key points. The report made by President Hu Jintao has broad and profound significance and rich contents with the demonstration of "one characteristic", namely the "two-aspect theory" sticking to the combination of succession and innovation, theory and practice as well as immediate interest and long-term interest. It also highlights "three key points", i.e. the emancipation of mind, reform and opening up and caring for the livelihood of the people and stresses the "four keystones" of holding high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, making in-depth implementation of the scientific outlook on development, fulfilling the striving targets of fully building a well-off society and enhancing the construction of the CPC in line with the spirit of reform and renovation. Third, we must upgrade our standard. We should transform the gist of the 17th National Congress we have learned into scientific outlook on the world and methodology, transform the understanding of the theory on socialism with Chinese characteristics into the wisdom and capacity in work and translate the requests to Party members in the Report into high-minded virtues and sound working style. Fourth, we must clarify the requirements. We should obtain new accomplishment in thoroughly grasping and mastering the gist of the 17th National Congress through careful study, make improvements in our firm belief and consciousness in taking the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and make headways in applying scientific outlook on development in guiding our practice, dealing with real problems and promoting our work.

Vice Minister of SEPA, Mr. Pan Yue hosted the meeting and made related arrangement on the learning and implementation of the spirit of the 17th National Congress among the environmental protection work system. He pointed out that environmental protection departments at all levels should swiftly get involved in the learning, popularization and implementation of the gist of the 17th National Congress as per the request of the central committee of the CPC and the general arrangement of the Party Group of the SEPA, carefully read up the documents of the 17th National Congress and learn the report of the Congress and the Party's Constitution word by word. We should thoroughly grasp the theme of the CPC at this Congress, the scientific connotation, spiritual essence and basic requirements of scientific outlook on development, thoroughly grasp the new requirements on the striving goal of building of a well-off society in full scale, thoroughly grasp the major arrangement regarding socialist economic, political, cultural and social construction, unify our thoughts in line with the spirit of the Congress, concentrate our strength in the practice of promoting the historic transformation, seize the opportunity, advance in a pioneering and enterprising spirit and strive for the enhancement of new development of environmental protection undertaking.

The members of the Party Group of SEPA, Zhu Guangyao; Vice Minister Zhang Lijun, Wu Xiaoqing, Zhou Jian and Li Ganjie; member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC and Leader of the Discipline Inspection Team of SEPA Ms. Fu Wenjuan as well as retired senior officials of SEPA, Wang Yuqing, Wang Xinfang, Zeng Xiaodong, Ye Ruqiu, Jin Jianming, Wang Yangzu and Zhang Kunmin were present at the meeting. A total number of 480 people including the work staff of SEPA, retired veteran cadres, members of all Party Branches, staff of various institutions and agencies affiliated to SEPA in Beijing and staff of SEPA regional offices attended the meeting.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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