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Points Made by Premier Zhu Rongji During His Meeting with CCICED Members and WG Cochairs at the 4th Meeting of the 2nd Phase of CCICED


  I am very glad to meet you once again in Autumn, the best season in Beijing. I h ave met with most of you before. You have devoted considerable energy and made a lot of contribution to China's environment and development. I would like to tak e this opportunity to express my thanks to you.

  Due to limited time, I am sorry that I could not ask every China Council Member to speak, nor could I give more time to those who have spoken. But I could assur e you that the Chinese Government would attach great importance to the recommend ations you have raised.

  In recent years, China has got increasingly deeper understanding of environmenta l protection and the strategy of sustainable development. We attach a lot of imp ortance to environmental protection, and made a lot of investment into it. This is unprecedented in Chinese history. Now it is the best period for China's envir o nmental protection. In the past, we indeed didn't have sufficient understanding of environmental protection and sustainable development. But there had also been some practical reasons. For example, China used to be short of grain. Therefore ,people reclaimed land wherever possible, and carried out some industrial projec ts which caused serious pollution. Now, China has basically solved the problem o f food shortage, and there is even grain surplus for some years. Therefore, we c an afford to convert arable land back to forest and grassland, that, to turn the land that has been over reclaimed and overgrazed back to forest or grassland. A t the same time,with our economy developed to the present level, we can afford t o invest more money to improve ecological environment, promote environmental con struction, and implement sustainable development.

  Of course, we still have a lot of important tasks and work to undertake. This ye ar is one in which drought has been very serious. In some places, sand storms ha ve occurred. These storms carried sand to Japan and Korea, and reportedly to Haw aii as well. I feel sorry for this. We have enough evidence to show that the san d did not just come from China, but also from other countries. But we neverthele ss would solve this problem by any means. We are currently formulating relevant plans in this regard. It is not easy to treat sand storms. Therefore, I would ve ry much like to listen to your recommendations.

  I remember that during a previous meeting with you, I said that pollution in Bei jing was very serious. 3 years has passed. I think you have found that the envir onmental quality of Beijing has been improved visibly. Beijing is bidding for 20 08 Olympic Games. Although the field of competitors is very crowded, I am confid ent that Beijing will win. 8 years from now, although Beijing's problems cannot be totally solved, its environmental quality would become as good as other citie s. I hope that, when foreigner talk about the sand storms in Beijing, you could put in a few objective words for Beijing. I hope that you come to Beijing each y ear in the next 8 years, and provide your valuable recommendations to us . I am fully confident that, in 8 years, the environmental quality of Beijing would rea ch the level of sydney.

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