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Top-level design key to ecological protection

Author  :  WU NAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-05-11

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited Niubeiliang National Nature Reserve to learn about ecological conservation in the Qinling Mountains, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province on April 20.

Xi’s visit to the Qinling Mountains together with his recent visits to Yucun Village in Anji County and the Xixi National Wetland Park in Zhejiang Province show his visionary outlook on ecological civilization construction and strategic philosophy for the future, said Li Huiming, associate dean of the School of Political Science and Law at the University of Jinan. This indicates that China will never blindly pursue economic growth, even when the economy is dealing with something like COVID-19. Instead, the country will further strengthen ecological and environmental protection and ecological civilization construction.

So far, China has set up a basic system of ecological and environmental protection that prevents pollution at its source, supervises producers and severely punishes polluters. An environmental legal system has been set up, covering all related fields including water, earth, air and waste. An accountability system with public oversight has also taken shape. What’s more, the ecological environment has been included in the evaluation system of socioeconomic development.

“In recent years, a series of regulations protecting the environment have been issued and implemented. This shows that a system for building an ecological civilization has been basically established, which means that the construction of ecological civilization has entered the new era of systematic governance,” said Zhao Jianjun, a professor from the philosophy department of the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC.

To achieve institutional innovation alongside the construction of ecological civilization, we must combine political, economic, cultural and social tools throughout the process, said Zhuang Guiyang, a research fellow from the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. To be specific, in the economic field, we need to set up a comprehensive decision-making mechanism for development and the environment. In the political sphere, an evaluation and supervisory mechanism for ecological civilization construction should be established. In the cultural field, a publicity and guidance mechanism for ecological civilization construction needs to be set up. At the level of society, we need to involve the entire population to make ecological progress.

Zhuang stressed that we need to avoid overextending the concept of the new type of infrastructure construction and prevent breaching the principles and requirements of ecological civilization construction. Moreover, we need to maintain ecological protection standards and avoid the impact of overcapacity on the environment.

“Among all the institutional systems of ecological civilization, the one that is worth the most attention at the moment is the regulatory system,” suggested Zhang Haimei, director of the Consulting and Research Center for Decision-Making at the Party School of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee.

Zhang pointed out that we need to further reform the supervisory system for the ecological environment and improve the support system. We need to strengthen the overall design and leadership while constructing ecological civilization. It is also necessary to strengthen the protection system for land and space development. Meanwhile, we need to resolutely stop and punish acts that damage the ecological environment and let constraint and incentive mechanisms fulfill their roles.

Additionally, we should encourage green ecology and develop green industries, such as green agriculture and a green service industry, Zhang noted.

Editor: Yu Hui

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