(Promulgated by the State Council on January 12, 1998)
We have received the Request of your Agency for Approval of the Plan for Delimiting Acid Rain Control Zones and Sulphur Dioxide Pollution Control Zones (Huanfa  No. 634). Our reply is hereby sent to you as follows:
1. We have approved the Plan for Delimiting Acid Rain Control Zones and Sulphur Dioxide Pollution Control Zones in principle and Your Bureau can promulgate the plan. We also approve the delimitation of acid rain control zones and sulphur dioxide pollution control zones (Hereinafter referred to "the two types of control zones". See the appendices for the details).
2. The objectives of the two types of control zones: By the year 2000, the industrial pollution sources discharging sulphur dioxide will have attained the standard for discharging sulphur dioxide and a system for controlling the total amount of discharged sulphur dioxide will have been practised; in municipalities directly under the Central Government, capital cities of provinces, cities as special economic zones, open coastal cities and major tourist cities which are polluted by sulphur dioxide, the density of sulphur dioxide in the environment air will have attained the national environmental quality standards and the worsening of acid rain in the acid rain control zones will have been alleviated. By the year 2010, the total amount of discharged sulphur dioxide shall be controlled under the level of sulphur dioxide discharged in 2000; the density of sulphur dioxide in the environment air in cities shall have reached the national environmental quality standards and sections of the acid rain control zones in which the precipitation has pH value below 4.5 shall be obviously decreased by comparing with those in 2000.
3. It is prohibited to establish new mines with the coal bed having above three percent sulphur contents. Those having already been established with the coal bed having above three percent sulphur contents shall be step by step ordered to cut down the output, suspend the production or close up. For the construction or transformation of coal mines with above 1.5 percent sulphur contents, coal washing facilities shall be set up correspondingly. Existing coal mines shall be according to planning fitted with coal washing facilities by stages and in groups. The sulphur contents of fuel coal and fuel heavy oil in cities shall conform to the prescriptions of the local People's governments of cities.
4. Construction of any new coal-burning thermal power plant in urban zones and suburbs of large or medium-sized cities is prohibited except for those heat and power plants generating power by producing heat. For the construction and transformation of power plants with fuel coal having above one percent sulphur contents, desulphurization equipment shall be set up correspondingly. Existing power plants with fuel coal having above one percent sulphur contents shall take measures to reduce the discharge of sulphur dioxide before the year 2000, and shall be fitted with desulphurization equipment by stages and in groups or take other similarly effective measures to reduce the discharge of sulphur dioxide before the year 2010. Enterprises engaged in chemical industry, metallurgical industry, building materials industry, nonferrous metal industry and other industries causing serious pollution must be fitted with technical facilities for treatment of waste gas or take other measures to reduce the discharge of waste gas.
5. At the time of readjusting the industrial structure and the structure of products, great effort shall be made to carry out cleaning production, strengthen technological transformation, promote the saving and comprehensive utilization of resources and lower the level of discharged sulphur dioxide in real earnest.
6. The collection, administration and use of fees for discharging sulphur dioxide shall be conducted conscientiously as required by the Reply of the State Council Concerning Expanding Experiments of Collecting Fees for Discharging Sulphur Dioxide (Guohan  No. 24). Special funds for major pollutant-discharging units to treat sulphur dioxide pollution shall not be less than 90 percent of the discharge fees.
7. Local People's governments concerned and departments concerned in charge of electric power and coal shall, in accordance with the requirement of this Reply, work out relevant planning and plans and take effective measures in order to realize objectives and requirements of the two types of control zones. Your Bureau should ensure the guidance over the prevention and control of pollution in the two types of control zones and strengthen the environmental monitoring, supervision and inspection.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)