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Opening Speech by Qu Geping


  Mr. Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

  Good Morning. Our annual meeting is convened here today. It's a pleasure for me to meet with the old friends and new acquaintance. 

  In two months, human being will enter 21 century. At the moment, we should think ca lmly about the past and future of environment and development, especially that we need to summarize and think about how we could set up the modern environmental legal system focusing on the protection of the public environmental rights while developing modern market economic and democratic legislation. This is the social base for creating the "Green Civilization". 

  Over two decades ago, China kicked off the long-term process shifting from the pl anned economy to marketized economy. With the strenuous development for over two decades, China has made great progress in constructing socialist market economy a nd the process towards the modern market economy system is irreversible. With the access to WTO, China will make greater progress in the modern market economy con struction. 

  The development of the modern socialist market in China is closely related with the development of modern democratic legal system. Without the development of the modern democratic legal system, we are not able to set up a modern market econom ic system that is open and fair in the ancient oriental land with strong feudali stic tradition. Therefore, China is now devoting greater efforts to set up modern democratic legal system. This is a tougher task. 

  Looking back at the past, we could see that it was the development of modern mark et economy and democratic legislation that cultivates the modern environmental l egislation. In the meantime, the development of modern environmental legislation h as also made great contribution to the progress of modern market economy and dem ocratic legislation in China.

  It is not coincidentally that China kicked off the historical process of the ref orm and the opening - up in 1979. In the same year, the environmental Protection L aw of the People's Republic of China was promulgated, which did not only promote the environmental protection towards legislation track in China but also played a role of pioneer in the democratic legislation in China. In the historical condi tion at that time in China , the society did not recognize the close relation bet ween the reform of the market economy and legislation construction. It is a far - sighted behaviour to recognize and utilize the legal instruments and some marke t economic instruments to regulate environmental protection, which has also initi ated the historical process of modern environmental legislation construction in China. 

  In the following tortuous development for over two decades, in order to meet the realistic requirements of market economy reform and environmental protection, Chi na formulated almost 20 environmental laws and preliminarily set up the legal fr amework of environmental protection. In the process of legislation, we paid attent ion to summarize our experiences of the environmental protection experiences whi le paying attention to learning some beneficial behaviours of environmental prot ection in the countries of market economy. Therefore, some important environmental legal system could follow the development of market economy and the rules and r egulations system consisted of environmental protection laws, administration rul es and regulations, local rules and regulations, administration regulations and va rious technical standards. With the development of socialist market economy, envir onmental protection laws have shown stronger vitality in the realistic lives in China. 

  At the turning point of the centuries and in the process of economic globalizati on, China should adjust the modern environmental legislation system which is adap tive to the market system and handle the more and more complicated environmental problems at the same time so as to effectively respond to the environmental cha llenges we are facing. Talking about the legal forms, I think it should have at le ast three levels:combination of the national macro economic adjustment mechanis m and the legal norms and the integration of sustainable development principle and co mprehensive decision - making of environment and economy into relevant economic laws;improvement of environment and resources laws , establishment of comprehensi ve legal system consisted of basic environmental laws, single concrete laws and p r ocedure laws;promotion of domestic laws to adapt the international environmental treaties and standards and international laws;as to the legal content , it shoul d at least include four legal systems:administrative ordinances-controlling meas u re, which is the system dominating the environmental protection in the world;econ omic incentive system that depends on environmental tax and fee as major instrum ent and could further develop into"green taxation system";voluntary participati on and implementation system with voluntary agreements as the typical aspects;an d the social supervision system based on information publicity and public partic ipation. The continuous development and improvement of environmental protection l aws will be the important foundation of socialist market economic development in China. 

  For the time being , we are making active exploration in this direction. We are ma king significant amendment to some existing environmental protection laws, for ex a mple, the Air Pollution Prevention Law has been amended completely recently;in or der to follow the development trend of the comprehensive decision-making of envi ronment and development and cleaner production, the Environmental Impact Assessme nt Law and Cleaner Production Law are being amended. Once these laws are passed, t hey will have significant influence on the environment and development in China. 

  Ladies and Gentlemen, 

  The environmental protection in China is developing towards new development stag e. I hope we could continue to show our concerns and support to the environment a nd development in China and create new era of "Green Civilization"in the ancien t land which is full of new development vitality. 

  I wish grand success to this meeting. 


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