China / Politics

Nation to intensify reform drive

By JIANG XUEQING (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-04 03:40

Top political adviser pledges stronger support as CPPCC meeting opens

China's top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng pledged on Monday to further efforts to comprehensively deepen the country's reforms.

"We will perform all our functions in a spirit of reform and innovation throughout the course of our work and strive to play a bigger role in the development of the cause of the Party and country," he said.

Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was speaking as the second session of the 12th National Committee opened in Beijing.

 Nation to intensify reform drive

Top leaders including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang join members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to mourn those who died in Saturday's terrorist attack in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, as the annual session of the country's top political advisory body opens in Beijing on Monday. ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY 

In the past 12 months, more than 2,000 national political advisers have submitted 5,884 proposals, with 5,403 of these being passed to authorities.

As of Feb 20, the government had handled 5,396 proposals, accounting for 99.8 percent of the total. Just over 24 percent of them have been resolved or adopted, said Han Qide, vice-chairman of China's top political advisory body.

Gao Jixi submitted a proposal in 2013, suggesting the government replace coal stoves in rural areas near Beijing because of high carbon emissions.

As director of the Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences under the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Gao was elected a member of the CPPCC National Committee for the first time last year.

A few months later, he received a phone call from the National Development and Reform Commission.

An official told him that his suggestion was already included in the Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan released by the State Council in September, and that the central government was promoting energy-saving coal-fired boilers.

As part of investigations into how to develop consultative democracy, seven vice-chairpersons of the CPPCC National Committee headed teams to visit 14 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, Yu said.

They heard opinions from various people, including local Party and government officials, members of non-Communist parties and experts.

Among various aspects of economic and social reforms, promoting an eco-conscious society is a priority for the CPPCC.

Non-communist parties and CPPCC members have put forward more than 480 proposals in this regard since March 2013.

Their suggestion for strict observation of an "ecological protection red line" that would limit the economic development of environmentally vulnerable regions was reflected in the decision reached by top leaders of the Communist Party of China on comprehensively deepening reforms.

Last year, the Committee of Population, Resources and Environment under the CPPCC National Committee conducted 11 pieces of research on environmental issues such as water protection and soil pollution control.

"China has entered a period of pursuing sustainable economic development, rather than simply emphasizing fast gross domestic product growth. Developing the environmental protection industry will become a major task in maintaining sustainable and quality growth," said Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development and also a CPPCC National Committee member.

Mei Xingbao, an external supervisor for the Bank of China, proposed ecological protection for major rivers and lakes, where the environment is easily damaged by industries.

"To build an ecological civilization, China should cut local obsession with economic growth and abolish GDP-based evaluation of government officials. We should pay more attention to economic quality and the carrying capacity of the environment," Mei said.

Twenty-two provinces and regions recently toned down their GDP growth targets this year in line with the quest for quality growth.

Gao said, "Although economic restructuring is currently causing a lot of pain to enterprises, environmental protection will promote economic growth in the long run."

He said Chinese enterprises' operating costs rose significantly after they strengthened efforts on pollution control.

But once these companies upgrade their industrial technology to a more advanced international level, they will greatly reduce their consumption of natural resources.

Lyu Xinhua, spokesman for the top political advisory body, said on Sunday, "The treatment of air pollution is a long and difficult process, but we hope that clear skies are not a distant dream."

He Dan contributed to this story.

Hot Topics