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Authorities crack down on pollution off China's Florida

By CUI JIA/ZHENG JINRAN/WU YIYAO | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-11 07:58

The restaurant undergoes demolition on Sunday. [Photo by YAN ZHIHONG/FOR CHINA DAILY/CUI JIA/CHINA DAILY]

China's Florida

Sanya is known as China's Florida; the population booms in the winter as people migrate temporarily from other parts of the country to escape the cold.

That has led to a surge in demand for holiday homes, so Sanya's streets are packed with real estate agencies offering viewings 24/7. The city has long been a key battleground for property developers, who fight to place their projects as close to the ocean as possible.

Although people assume that the coral reserve is entirely underwater that isn't the case, according to Chen. To minimize the impact of human activity, part of the reserve covers Sanya's coastline.

"The odd thing is that the reserve's administrators don't really have any say about the operation of the land-based part of the reserve, but real estate developers do," he said.

The central inspection team stated that the Sanya government not only backed the construction of a resort within the reserve's boundaries on the Luhuitou Peninsula, but it also interfered with law enforcement activities several times between 2012 and 2015.

Additionally, it illegally issued a construction permit to the resort's developers in 2016, only to withdraw it when the inspectors arrived, according to the report.

The pursuit of economic growth is the main reason some local governments in Hainan have offered real estate developers almost unconditional support, according to Qin Tianbao, director of the Research Institute of Environmental Law at Wuhan University in Hubei province.

"For decades, GDP has been the most important indicator for decision-makers because it is closely linked with their performance and promotion. Therefore, it guides the direction of policies and development plans in cities and counties," he said.

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