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China Daily Global / 2021-06 / 11 / Page001

President sets out new vision for Qinghai

By XU WEI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-11 00:00

Xi makes protection of environment a key focus of inspection trip to province

President Xi Jinping has set out a new vision for Qinghai province, highlighting the increasingly prominent role of the region in environmental, national, resources and energy security as China enters a new phase of development and fosters a new pattern of growth.

In his second inspection trip to the province in five years, Xi again made environmental protection a key focus of his agenda.

Inspecting Gangca county in the Haibei Tibetan autonomous prefecture on Tuesday, he listened to reports about the environmental protection of the Qilian Mountains and Qinghai Lake before taking a field trip to survey the results of environmental restoration and protection of biodiversity in the lake, which is China's largest lake.

The achievements in conserving the environment of Qinghai Lake are hard-won, and must be cherished, consolidated and expanded, he said.

The environment is a precious resource and wealth, and it is important to accelerate efforts in building a nature reserve system centering on national parks, based on natural reserves and supplemented by various kinds of natural parks to better protect the environment and biodiversity, he said.

Wang Jinnan, head of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning and an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the president has further clarified Qinghai's role in national development.

"The greatest value and largest potential of the province lies in its environment, and the top responsibility for its officials lies in environmental protection," he said.

The province, which is located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and has long been acclaimed as China's "water tower", is home to the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers, also known as Sanjiangyuan.

Xi reiterated the significance of protecting the environment in Qinghai, an issue that is of vital importance to China.

He explained the need to adhere to the notion that lush waters and green mountains are invaluable assets, and called for concrete steps to protect the environment of the plateau.

Conservation of the source of the three major rivers should be the utmost priority, and local authorities must fully assume their responsibility in safeguarding the environment and protecting China's "water tower", he said.

The president also urged continuous steps to move forward with the development of national parks, with measures to innovate their operational mechanism, enhance oversight and management and strengthen policy support.

It is important to step up environmental restoration in snowcapped mountains, glaciers, river headwaters, lakes, wetlands, grasslands and deserts and make all-out efforts to protect the environmental diversity of the plateau, he said.

Xi highlighted the need to come up with comprehensive measures to tackle water and soil erosion, improve the capacity for water conservation and promote the intensive and efficient use of water resources.

He also called for the region to adhere to green and low-carbon development, with proactive steps to cultivate emerging industries, accelerate the development of a world-class salt lake industry base and develop itself into a national powerhouse for clean-energy industries.

Last year, the provincial government launched a three-year plan to restore the environment in the Qilian Mountains, after a company was found to have conducted illegal coal mining activities masquerading as ecological restoration in Muli, the province's only site with rich coal resources.

The incident also sparked an investigation that led to the punishment of at least 15 local officials for dereliction of duty, including the province's former vice-governor.

Wang, the academician, said Qinghai could have a prominent competitive edge and a key role as the nation strives to hit the peak of its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

He explained that the province has rich resources of wind and solar power, and it has already hit the peak of its carbon emissions.

In the next five years, non-fossil fuel energy will take up 95.3 percent of the province's newly added energy sources, he said.

"Based on Qinghai's economic structure, energy resources and its edge in green energy, I have proposed to develop the province into a major base for the production and export of renewable resources," he said.


President Xi Jinping visits the home of a herdsman in a village of Gangca county, Haibei Tibetan autonomous prefecture, in Northwest China's Qinghai province on Tuesday. XIE HUANCHI/XINHUA



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