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Premier Wen Jiabao's Remarks during His Meeting with Participants of the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED


  I welcome you once again to come to attend the 2nd Meeting of the 3rd Phase of CCICED. During the 12 years of existence of CCICED, international friends from many countries have come to China every year to discuss issues related to China's environment and development. It shows your enthusiasm and concern for China's environment and development. On behalf of the Chinese government, I want to express my sincere thanks to all governments and friends that have supported CCICED. I also look forward to more recommendations by CCICED on China's environment and development.

  The Chinese government pays high attention to CCICED's recommendations. These recommendations are very helpful for China to promote economic and social development and environmental protection. Having been tested by the challenges posed by the outbreak of SARS, the new government of China now has a newer and deeper understanding of what China's future development should be like, and has adopted a comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable, and scientific development mode. In summary, a new development mode should coordinate between urban and rural development, among the development of various regions, between economic and social development, between human activities and nature, and between domestic development and opening to the outside world. We stress the importance of coordinating these aspects because we want to solve the problems that are caused by lack of coordination in these aspects. Without such coordination, sustainable development is out of the question. As a large country with a population of 1.3 billion, China must avoid the old growth pattern of "taking treatment measures only after pollution has already occurred". The importance of natural resources like land and water to economic development, and their sustainability, should be fully recognized. A new industrialization mode should be one of resource and energy conservation. Capacity building for environmental protection is very important to China. The change in the water quality of the Three Gorges Reservoir is a general concern. During the construction of the Three Gorges Project, 4 billion yuan was invested in treating water pollution. So far the water quality in the reservoir area has been good.

  China encourages the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. These enterprises can provide a lot of employments. However, they also create serious environmental problems. If insufficient attention is given to them, they can become big polluters. There is a need to regulate their development and establish environmental requirement and standards for them. Solving the problems caused by these enterprises is not easy. We showed our determination by shutting down some small coal mines, small coking plants, and small iron and steel plants, but in the mean time we also need to address the problem of unemployment caused by such measures. Recently, some small enterprises, such as small coal mines, small iron and steel plants, and small cement plants, have reappeared. There are two ways to address this problem. The first one is to strengthen government regulation, especially with respect to market access. The second is to use financial measures, namely, not to approve loans to small and medium-sized enterprises that cause serious pollution or damage to the environment. China has made visible progress in its legal institutions, but not all laws are enforced in the way they should be. Some laws are not enforced well. For example, we still have problems like illegal land use, illegal operation of small coal mines which cause pollution to water sources and the environment. Such activities are forbidden by the law, but they continue to exist despite of repeated injunctions. This indicates that law enforcement is not strict enough, and should be strengthened.

  CCICED holds meetings once a year. Council members and experts are invited to go to different places in the country to gain better understanding of China's problems, and make recommendations to the Chinese government. This is a very good approach to helping China solve its environmental problems, and should be continued. It is beneficial to the sustainable development of China's economic and social development that so many foreign friends have been supporting and helping us with development and environment issues. I hope CCICED will become better and better in the future.

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