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Opening Ceremony Speech by Wen Jiabao


  Distinguished Member, Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  On the occasion of warmly celebrating the 50th anniversary of People's Republic of China, we welcome again members, experts and scholars from in China and abroad, who devote their efforts to the environment and development in China. We are gathering here to discuss matters of vital importance. On behalf of the Chinese government and in the name of myself, I would like to express a warm welcome to all our friends coming from far away. In addition, I would also like to express our sincere thanks to the governments, international organizations and friends who have long been giving support to CCICED.

  Ladies and Gentlemen,

  We are glad to see that in the past year, since the Second Meeting of the Second Phase CCICED, great achievements have been made in the economy, social development and environmental protection in China. In the past year, the Chinese government has taken further measures to expand the domestic demand and active financial policies and has steadily promoted the reforms in all sectors. Strenuous efforts have been made to ensure the rapid domestic economic growth. In the first half of this year, GDP increased by 7.6% over the same period last year. Industrial production has continued to grow and the profits of the enterprises have been improved. Financial income has increased and the financial system is quite stable. It is expected that we will have good agricultural harvest. Meanwhile, great progress has been made in environmental protection. Since the implementation of the Ninth FiveYear Plan, environmental protection has been developing rather rapidly in China, with increased investment, accelerated treatment and obvious achievements. Especially since last year, the Central government has enhanced the input for environmental protection. Most of the incremental national debt and the relevant bank loans focus mainly on the infrastructure construction. Even though we are short of financial sources, the Chinese government regards pollution prevention and eco-construction as an important field for investment. In 1998, the investment for pollution treatment in the whole country reached Rmb 72.18 billion yuan, with an increase of 43.7% over the previous year. In the financial budget early this year, Rmb 5.8 billion yuan were arranged for ecoenvironmental construction. and Rmb 8.4 billion yuan of the incremental national debt directly goes to environmental protection. Among the Rmb 15.3 billion yuan technical renovation projects, most of them are environmental projects.

  While conducting macroeconomic strategic adjustment, the Chinese government has taken a series of measures which have had active impact on solving the pollution problems. Examples of these measures are:

  l to speed up the adjustment and transformation of industries, 

  l stop resolutely overlapping construction,

  l reduce excessive production capacity, 

  l phase out backward processes and equipment and close down the enterprises with serious pollution. 

  This has not only promoted the production capacity of dominant enterprises, but also reduced pollution load significantly.

  For the time being, pollution prevention and ecological conservation is at the critical stage in order to fulfill the environmental protection targets of the Ninth FiveYear Plan. Preliminary achievements have been made in the river basin and egional pollution prevention. The important pollution sources in Huai River, Tai Lake and Dianchi Lake basins have basically met the pollution discharge standards, with the water quality improved. Fully 65% of the industrial wastewater discharge in the whole country has met the standards, and 66% of the industrial waste gas emission has met the standards. The water and air environmental quality in part of the important cities has met the stipulated standards of functional districts. Beijing is a city with serious pollution, and has been listed as an important target of treatment by the Central government. Since last year, 46 measures have been carried out to treat the air pollution and the environment has been improved to certain extent. The SO2 concentration in the air in Beijing last May decreased by 32% compared to the same period last year, while CO and NOx remains the same or has decreased compared with last year.

  While reviewing the achievements we've made, we would like to sincerely thank the members and experts of CCICED for their contribution. In the past year, all members of the Council have worked actively as always. Centering on the outstanding problems of environment and development in China, they have made no mention of hardships in conducting investigations and researches. They have devoted their efforts to explore effective solutions,from macropolicy research to concrete policy demonstration and project demonstration, and provided all the advanced experiences in other countries to China. Each Working Group has made efforts to concentrate research on the important areas and key projects, introducing financial sources and technologies actively and carrying out implementation and demonstration of projects. All members and each Working Group have shown great concern on the formulation of the Tenth Five Year Plan in China, putting forth a lot of precious advice and recommendations. This meeting will further discuss the advice and recommendations so as to make them more perfect. I do believe that your high perspicacity will exert active influence in the sustainable development in China and score great success. 

  Now, I would like to put forth some opinions on the basic thinking and principles of formulating the Tenth FiveYear Plan which I hope will be helpful to the topics of this Meeting. 

  China's National Economic and Social Development "Tenth Five Year" Plan and the LongTerm Target for 2015 is China's first midterm plan in the 21st Century and the first midterm plan after the preliminary establishment of socialist market economic system. During the period from the "Sixth FiveYear" Plan to the "Ninth Five Year" Plan, China is at the stage of transiting from the traditional planned economic system to socialist market economic system. The "Tenth Five Year" Plan will be carried out under the socialist market economic system. From the "Tenth Five Year" Plan, China will implement the third strategy target and make strenuous efforts for 50 years, so as to basically realize modernization and make China into a civilized democratic welloff country. In the past two decades since the reform and open door policy, the economic strength of China has increased obviously. However, we are quite clear that there are still lots of difficulties and contradictions for the time being, with comparative surplus even at the time of low development level. The market demand is sluggish and part of the state owned enterprises could not exert their production capacity. The market economic system is not so perfect, with significant contradictory economic structures and low economic operation quality and efficiency. The science and technology level is far behind that in the developed countries. As a country with large population, China is comparatively short of natural resources, with seriously polluted environment and limited capacity of sustainable development. There will be new contradictions in face of intensive competition and increased population in the 21st Century.

  China is and will be at the preliminary stage of socialism for a long time. To focus on economic construction, stick to reform and open door policy, speed up development and improve the socialist market economy is the basic long-term policy that China must follow. Therefore, the economic and social development in the Tenth FiveYear Plan period should follow the following principles:

  l Firstly, to focus on economic construction and follow the sustainable development way. Throughout the overall preliminary socialist stage, China will make great efforts to develop production and strengthen the sustainable development capacity during the development. Only with the economy developed and the comprehensive national strength enhanced, will the people's living standard be promoted. There will be material bases for the development of each social cause and environmental protection will be guaranteed. The basic situation in China leads to the result that there is stronger will for achieving sustainable development in China. In the development, we must make efforts to coordinate the population growth, natural resources development, eco-construction and environmental protection with the economic growth. We should establish natural resourcesaving national economic system, change the high consumption production mode and consumption mode, eliminate environmental pollution gradually and keep the sustainable utilization of natural resources. In the meantime, based on the international and domestic natural resources and markets, we should take into account the composition and disposition of natural resources on a larger scale, and maintain stable economic development for a long time.

  l Secondly, to promote strenuously the transit of economic growth mode and integrate the speed and efficiency. 

  Experiences indicate that it is impossible to promote rapid economic growth with more pure investment and construction, and the traditional extensive economic growth mode will bring about unbearable pressure for the natural resources and environment. Therefore, China will continue to carry out the strategy of developing the country by science and technology, and making efforts to promote the qualification of the labors and creative capacity of science and technology. We should transit the economic growth mode by promoting the quality of production elements and utilization efficiency, shifting from mainly depending on increasing natural resources input and consumption, to depending on science and technology progress. In that way it is possible to achieve good quality and low consumption, and to shift from mainly expanding the quantity to mainly depending on prioritizing natural resources disposition, so as to achieve the quality and efficiency expansion. While continuously expanding the domestic demand and maintaining certain economic growth speed, we will prioritize the economic structure, enhance economic efficiency and quality of economic growth, and integrate the speed and efficiency. 

  l Thirdly, to strengthen technology renovation and promote the leaping development of social production. In the world today, science and technology changes with each passing day, with hightech and relevant industry developing rapidly. The science and technology in China for the time being, and the distance in many fields between China and the developed countries is rather great. The Chinese government will carry out a series of strong measures to direct and promote enterprises using the creative knowledge, new technology and new processes, and adopting new production mode and operation and management mode. In this way, the quality of products will improve, new products will develop and new services will be provided. In the "Tenth FiveYear" period, traditional industries will be renovated in a organized way and the existing new hightech industries will be developed in order to set up a series of new industries brought about by technology creation. The construction of high and new technology industry development zones will be strengthened; and high and new technology industry bases will be established. Enterprises will be the main carrying body of technology creation. In the meantime, the applied science and research institutes will be promoted to transit into enterprise mechanism. Generally speaking, we will develop high and new technology and the relevant industries, so as to promote the overall qualification of national economy and promote the rapid development social production. 

  l Fourthly, to stick to coordinated development of regional economy and narrow the gap of regional development. 

  Since the Ninth Five Year Plan, the Chinese government has implemented policies that are helpful to slow down the tendency of regional gap expansion, and has paid attention to and supported the development in inland areas. During the Tenth Five Year Plan period, we will speed up the development in the midwest areas. It will be an important strategic task of the country to implement development in western area, which will be at a more obvious position. The government will enhance the support to the western area and priorities will be given to the arrangements of water sources, electricity, transportation, environmental protection and natural resources development. The existing economic and technology base will be fully utilized and the natural resources will play their advantageous role. Great efforts will be made to develop husbandry and the relevant process industry in rural areas. Energy and mineral resources will be developed and explored, and the advantageous industries and products will be developed so as to turn the resources into economic development gradually. However, we should also take full account that the eco-environment in the western part is rather fragile and the economic development in the western part must be integrated closely with ecology conservation and construction. Effective measures should be taken to prevent new environmental problems in order to maintain the favorable circle of ecological environment. 

  l Fifthly, to stick to reform and open door policies. 

  China is related to the whole world. The development and prosperity of China could not be separated from the support of the international world. China will resolutely implement reform and open door policies. The economic globalization has created new conditions for the development of China. In the process of global economic structural adjustment and establishment of new international economic and trade separation system, China will grasp the opportunity, speed up its development and further expand the scope and depth of open door policy. China will develop its open economy and improve the open door situation to a wider range and at various levels. We will actively participate in international economic cooperation and competition and establish economic cooperation relation with more countries and areas. In this field, CCICED has become a glorious model of international cooperation with its excellent achievements. 

  Ladies and Gentlemen, 

  Ever since its establishment, CCICED has made great efforts to explore the sustainable development way of China, and to put forth a great deal of constructive advice and recommendations to Chinese government. This has played an effective role in promoting the environment and development cause in China and attracted the great attention of the Chinese government and people, as well as wide and active comments of the international world in the meantime. The Second Phase CCICED is at the critical transcentury period. This is also the key period when Chinese people rouse themselves up with one heart and one mind, so as to have a good beginning for realizing the third step strategic target. While making the blue print of environment and development for the new century, I do hope this Council will offer advice and recommendations. I believe that with the common efforts of the members and experts, we are sure to fulfill our mission. With your intelligence and wisdom and hard work, we will make greater contribution for the environment and development in China.

  Thank you

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