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Newsletter (June)



  The 1996 Report on the State of the Environment by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) reveals that environmental pollution around cities continues to spread out towards villages and the extent of damage to the ecology is widening.

  This annually published report on environmental conditions said that, in 1996, much progress was achieved in environmental protection in China. The State Council's Resolution Concerning Several Issues on Environmental Protection was implemented, and more than 60,000 small enterprises that had caused serious pollution problems were shut down. Several cases regarding illegal imports of foreign hazardous wastes were handled. Considerable progress was made in water pollution control of the "three rivers" and the "three lakes" (Hai River, Liao River, Huai River, Chao Lake, Dianchi Lake and Tai Lake).

  Nevertheless, the state of the environment in China is still very serious. Vehicle exhaust pollution is getting worse in large cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Anshan, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Shenyang, Dalian, Lanzhou and Hangzhou. Nitrogen oxides has become a major air pollution problem in a couple of large cities.

  The total amount of pollution emitted into the air by industry was lower than in 1995 and the otal amount of waste water discharged was also lower by 7.2%. However, industrial solid waste increased by 20 million tons over the figure for 1995. The overall number of industrial pollution cases in 1996 decreased by 517 cases.

  The volume of pollution discharged by village and township enterprises is rapidly growing and has become the major factor of environmental pollution in the country. (CEN)

  Working Group (WG) Activity Report

  WG on Energy 

  The WG on Energy held its 10th meeting between June 9-14, 1997 in Changchun, Jilin Province followed by a symposium on energy development strategy. Ms. Liu Shuying, Vice-Governor of Jilin Province, and representatives from W. Alton Jones Foundation of USA also attended the meeting.

  Professor Yang Jike officially retired as Chinese Co-Chair of the WG and was succeeded by Professor Ni Weidou.

  At the meeting, members presented progress reports on their activities including:

  •Report on Energy Supply and Demand Scenarios for China,

  •Small-Scale Biomass Fuel Cell/Gas Turbine Power System for Rural Areas,

  •Toward a Strategic Approach for Coal Development and Utilization in China

  •Progress on IRP

  •Energy Efficiency in TVE, and


  Some members suggested that the following topics not be pursued for technical and economic reasons: direct coal liquefaction, pressurized fluidised bed combustion and magnetohydro-dynamic energy conversion.

  The WG also discussed demonstration projects for Phase II, among them are fuel cell, wind power, efficient building, etc. Preliminary consideration has been given to Jilin Province for some of the demo projects.

  The WG plans to conduct six workshops in Phase II, which are:

  •coal utilization strategy in China

  •bioelectricity technology

  •PV technology

  •competitive technologies assessment in electricity generation

  •de-centralized energy supply, and

  •urban transportation.

  The next WG meeting will be held between January 14 - 17 in Jilin City, Jilin Province at the invitation of Vice-Governor Ms. Liu.

  WG on Pollution Control 

  The WG on Pollution Control is planning to conduct two information exchange and technology transfer workshops/conferences:

  (1) stationary source air pollution monitoring (continuous emission monitoring), and (2) water/waste water monitoring during 1998. This WG is also planning a plenary meeting in Shandong Province during the week beginning 15 September.

  The WG on Environmental Economics 

  The WG on Environmental Economics met in Maanshan City, Anhui Province between May 6-12, 1997. Officials from Maanshan City, Anhui Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau and NEPA were also present at the meeting.

  The meeting discussed the WG's work program which consists of:

  •green taxation

  •environment and national accounting

  •pollution case study

  •biodiversity case study

  •sustainable agriculture case study, and

  •studies on coastal fisheries and grasslands.

  The program focuses on applied case study and is in line with the scenario set up at the 5th Council meeting. The studies on green taxation and national income accounting are a logical extension of the work done in the previous years, which had provided a solid foundation for new studies.

  Recognizing that economics is an essential dimension of any policy recommendation, the WG has taken the lead in trying to achieve such co-ordination in two ways: 1) by carrying out the applied case study work in cooperation with other WGs (e.g. the case of biodiversity), and 2) by participating in the meetings of other WGs.

  The WG on Trade and Environment 

  This WG held its 4th meeting from April 21 to 23 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Besides the regular WG members and their associates, Dr. Robert Page, Dean of Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary and Jim Leslie, Vice President for Sustainable Development at TransAlta Utilities also attended the meeting.

  Dr. Ye Ruqiu, Chinese Co-Chairman, made a presentation on recent developments in environmental protection in China. Konrad von Moltke briefed on the WTO Singapore Ministerial Meeting.

  The Group discussed two major research projects which had been completed since the WG's last meeting: 1) Pollution Havens and Ozone Depleting Substances Control in China and 2) Strategies for China's Implementation of Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ).

  Members and participants carefully elaborated a joint proposal for a WG work program for the next two years. Six projects will be undertaken by the WG. They are:

  •Policy research on the integration of China's foreign trade and environmental protection

  •A study of China's perspective on existing and proposed international laws on foreign direct investment and sustainable development

  •A study on the impacts of selected foreign environmental standards on China's trade

  •Monitoring and assessing international developments in trade and sustainable development and their relevance to China

  •A study on environmental technology transfer, and

  •A workshop on trade and environment.

  During the meeting, Dr. Robert Page briefed on his work related to the sustainable development of Banff National Park and his role as Chair of a task force for the Canadian Minister of Trade on Trade and Environment. Jim Leslie made a presentation on AIJ and TransAlta's own performance related to AIJ. Geoffrey Oldham brought the Group up to date on his involvement in the follow-up to the State Science and Technology Commission's review of China's science and technology policy.

  The WG on Sustainable Agriculture 

  A preparatory meeting of the WG on Sustainable Agriculture was held from May 13 to 14 in Beijing. The meeting was presided over by the two Co-Chairs appointed by the Council, Professor Sun Honglie of Science and Technology Bureau of Resources and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Dr. Bernad Sonntag of Agriculture Canada. Other international participants included Professor Earl Drake, Director of the Canadian Secretariat of CCICED, Dr. David Norse of University College London of UK, and Dr. Wayne Lindwall of Agriculture Canada. The Chinese participants were: Professor Han Chunru, China Agriculture University, Professor Wang Futang, China Academy of Meteorology, as well as Professor Lu Yazhou, Professor Wang Yi, Ms. Fu Suqin and Mr. Liu Jian of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  Participants discussed the WG's work plan, international membership, plan for 1997, a symposium and the WG budget.

  It was pointed out that the WG should focus not only on arable land, but also on grassland, economic crops as well as aquatic products. In addition to the work on overall research and appraisal from a national perspective, the WG should also focus on food potential and the environment in the semi-dry area of the Loess Plateau, the dry area in Northeast China, the red soil hilly area in South China, and the grassland area in Northeast China.

  The WG has reached consensus on this year's activities, which include:

  •drafting a detailed plan prior to this year's Council meeting

  •collecting more information regarding agriculture in China and working together with research institutions, decision-making agencies and implementation departments.

  •a symposium on China's priorities for sustainable agriculture to be held in Beijing between September 1-2, and

  •a field study tour to the North-East of China to be carried out between September 3- 7.

  A WG meeting is planned for September 8-9 in Harbin. Senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Science and Technology Commission, and the State Planning Commission, FAO, the World Bank, and the EU will be invited to work on a report on China's sustainable agriculture. The report will be integrated into the framework of this WG's Terms of Reference (TOR), which will cover grassland management, land deterioration, water resources, indicator systems, economics and natural disasters.

  The WG on Cleaner Industrial Production 

  The WG on Cleaner Industrial Production, one of the two new WG endorsed by the 1996 Council meeting, met for the first time from May 19 to 21 in Beijing. The meeting was chaired by Chinese Co-Chair Qian Yi and acting International Co-Chair Katsuo Seiki. Li Song, Deputy Director General of NEPA's Policy and Law Department, attended the meeting on behalf of NEPA Administrator Xie Zhenghua.

  Four presentations were made by Chinese participants on

  •China Centre for Cleaner Production

  •Case Study on Cleaner Production Auditing in Bohui Paper Mill

  •Analysis on Characteristics of Pollution from Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs) and Popularization of Cleaner Production in the Chemical Industry, and

  •Sustainable Development Path for TVEs in China.

  Mark Radka from UNEP, Alan Brewster from USA and a participant from Japan also spoke at the meeting.

  The two-day meeting discussed and adopted a two-phase WG workplan for 1997-2001. During the first two years, the WG will focus on feasibility study on the application of cleaner production technologies to China's TVEs and on policy recommendations. The second phase will look at the issue of popularizing cleaner production technologies in state-owned enterprises. The plan for the next two years are:


  •Current status of township and village enterprises

  •TVEs' potential for implementing cleaner production technologies

  •Policy recommendations for popularizing clean production technologies in TVEs


  •Convening second WG meeting in January

  •Convening third WG meeting in May

  •Submitting its report to the Council

  The WG on Biodiversity 

  The WG on Biodiversity held its first meeting between April 3- 4, 1997 in Beijing . The meeting summarized experience and lessons from Phase I and deliberated on its membership, work plan and activities for Phase II.

  The Group felt that workshops in biodiversity conservation with government agencies involved provide good opportunities for the WG to offer its recommendations to these agencies for implementation and management. The meeting decided to organize a sectoral workshop with the Ministry of Forestry and the Bureau of Water Conservancy in July, and a second one in October.

  The WG will continue its present projects on the development of biodiversity database, studies on biodiversity values, and sustainable use of wild flora and fauna and Chinese traditional medicines. It will start projects on marine ecosystem and fresh water ecosystem. Members from the WG on Environmental Economics and experts of water conservancy and ecological economists were specially invited to attend the meeting to discuss research methods on evaluating economic value of biodiversity.


  Leaded gasoline to be banned 

  On June 1, gas stations in 8 districts around Beijing began to sell unleaded gasoline only. The Beijing government has announced that by January 1, 1998, only unleaded gas can be sold in Beijing area. 7 other cities will start using unleaded gasoline next year. They are Tianjin, Shanghai, Xi'an, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. (CEN & China Daily)

  New rules to tackle TVEs pollution 

  NEPA, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Planning Commission and the State Commission on Economics and Trade jointly issued the Resolution Concerning Several Issues on Strengthening Environmental Protection of Township and Village Enterprises. It requires that governments at all levels attach importance to environmental protection of TVEs. By 2000, all TVEs must control pollutant discharge within the limit set by relevant environmental standards. (CEN)

  China to begin sewage charge 

  Starting August 1, residents in Shenzhen will have to pay a drainage fee. The Ministry of Construction and the State Planning Commission have jointly prepared a report on a national scheme of sewage charge for the State Council for approval, detailing measures on how to collect fees. Funds collected will be used in the construction and operation of waste water treatment facilities. (China Daily)

  Use of CFCs to be banned in the aerosol industry 

  The State Planning Commission, NEPA, the Federation of Light Industry and other six related government agencies have recently issued a ban on use of CFCs in the aerosol industry by the end of 1997 (except for medical purposes). (People's Daily)

  Trial environmental policy reform 

  NEPA has recently decided to reform the environmental protection policy in Zibo, Wenzhou and Zhangjiagang on a trial basis. As the nation's economy is being restructured, and environmental protection is advancing, environmental policy makers in China believe that a reform of current environmental protection policy is essential. (CEN)

  New rules to curb use of farmland 

  The State Council issued a set of new rules aimed to curb the inappropriate use of farmland for industrial and real estate development. The new regulations mandate "the total acreage for cultivation can only increase and cannot be reduced". (CEN)

  State of Environment 

  A recent investigation by the Ministry of Forestry has revealed that the total area of China's desert land and land becoming deserts is 1.689 million square kilometers, accounting for 17.6% of the country's territory. A national report indicates that areas suffering from acid rain in China are spreading, amounting to 40% of the country's total area. (CEN)



  Environmental enforcement will be strengthened by China's newly-amended criminal code. The Amendments of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China was signed by President Jiang Zemin on March 14 this year. The amended criminal code will take effect as of October 1, 1997.

  A special section, Crimes against Environmental and Resources Protection, has been created under Chapter Six, Crimes Against the Social Order. There are nine articles in this section against acts involved with discharge and dumping of pollutants, imports of hazardous wastes, damage of fishery resources, illegal hunting and selling of rare and endangered wild animals, destruction of land resources and mineral resources.

  Article 338 specifies that those who discharge, dump or dispose of wastes in violation of State regulations on land, into water and air which give rise to serious consequences may be sentenced to up to three years in prison or detention, or a fine or both depending on the seriousness of the crime. In serious cases, the sentence can be up to seven years.

  Article 339 imposes a sentence up to five years in prison or detention to those who dump, store or dispose of imported wastes. Those who cause major environmental pollution, loss of public or private property and/or serious health problems will be sentenced to up to ten years. In serious cases, the offender could be sentenced to more than ten years.

  Those who violate the State law and catch aquatics in areas or periods where and when fishing is not allowed, or employ forbidden tools or methods may be imposed a prison term of up to three years (Article 340).

  Illegal hunting or killing of rare and endangered animals which are under the key protection of the State, or illegal purchase, transportation or selling of such animals and their products may receive a sentence of up to five years in prison as well as a fine (Article 341). Illegal hunting in forbidden areas and seasons will be imposed a term of up to three years.

  Article 342 provides those who, in violation of land management decrees, illegally change land to other uses and cause destruction may be punished with a term of up to five years as well as a fine.

  Under Article 343, acts in violation of the State mineral resources law may be punished with a prison term of up to three years, and in serious cases, up to seven years.

  Those who illegally log in violation of the State forestry law and cause forestry resources damage may be imposed a prison term between three to seven years as well as a fine. In serious cases, the sentence can be more then seven years (Article 344 and 345).

  Article 346 stipulates that if a corporation violates the provisions from Article 338 to 345, the corporate leaders and others who are held directly responsible may be also punished according to the above articles. (CEN)

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