China’s President Xi vows to punish polluters during legislative meeting


Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, chats with Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Yu Zhengsheng during the opening session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, March 5, 2015. Photo: AP

President Xi Jinping vowed on Friday to crack down on polluters in the smog-choked country.

“We are going to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or environment, with no exceptions,” said Xi, while reviewing the work report of the State Council with National People’s Congress deputies from Jiangxi Province.

He asked the Chinese people to help protect the environment, as the world’s second-largest economy battles widespread pollution.

“Environmental pollution is blight on people’s quality of life and a trouble that weighs on their hearts,” the work report read. “We must fight it with all our might.”

The report also said that the world’s biggest emitter will cut the intensity of carbon dioxide by at least 3.1 percent this year.

Soil, water, and air pollution have remained hot topics at China’s annual sessions of the top legislature and political advisory body.

China declared a “war against pollution” last year, calling for tougher regulations over polluting industries.

“Problems such as administration loopholes, weak public awareness, and lack of supervision still exist,” Qin Dahe, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

He suggested long-term planning with a focus on the promotion of green techniques.

Talking with Jiangxi deputies, Xi also pledged to advance the battle against corruption and governing of the Communist Party of China (CPC), saying he would: “pluck the rotten trees, cure the sick trees, and straighten the crooked trees.”

Supervision over the officials, especially the CPC officials, should be strengthened, he said.

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, joined the discussion with deputies from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

Zhang said that the CPC Central Committee sincerely hopes that the region can carry out the universal suffrage in the election of the HKSAR Chief Executive in 2017 according to the Hong Kong Basic Law and decisions made by the NPC Standing Committee.

That has been the CPC Central Committee’s consistent stance on Hong Kong and also the expectations of the Hong Kong compatriots, he said.

Top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng urged to enhance the overall strength and competitiveness of the country’s culture while joining the panel discussion with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee members from the cultural and art sector.

Wang Qishan, head of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, also supported anti-corruption efforts.

He told NPC deputies from Fujian province that supervision over officials and the accountability mechanism should be highlighted this year.

Story is compiled with information from Xinhua news.