China’s new premier vows to tackle pollution, but few details on how

Li Keqiang

Li Keqiang

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Sunday that his government would “show even greater resolve” in tackling China’s festering pollution crisis, a source of increasing public fury.

Li’s remarks at his debut press conference as premier were the highest-level public comments on the problem to date, though he gave few specifics about how the government planned to address the environmental effects of rapid economic growth.

Street-level anger over the air pollution that blanketed many northern cities this winter has spilled over into online appeals for Beijing to clean water supplies as well.

The rotting corpses of more than 12,000 pigs found this month in a river that supplies tap water to Shanghai drew even more attention to water safety.

Li said he encouraged increased public participation in cleaning China’s water, soil and air.

“This government will show even greater resolve and take more vigorous efforts to clean up such pollution,” Li said, referring to the winter smog.

Air quality in Beijing has mostly stayed above “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels since the beginning of this year. On Sunday, it hit 286 on an index maintained by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which described the pollution as “very unhealthy”.

Nationally, environmental complaints have sparked unrest and even riots, to the alarm of the stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party.

Beijing will set deadlines to tackle pollution caused by man-made factors, Li said, adding that the government will phase out “backward production facilities”.

“We need to face the situation and punish offenders with no mercy and enforce the law with an iron fist,” Li said.

“We shouldn’t pursue economic growth at the expense of the environment. Such growth won’t satisfy the people,” he added.

Li also promised a crackdown on fake and substandard food, another persistent problem which has caused widespread alarm, with scandals in recent years including toxic milk powder, and painted stones sold as rice.

The government will “take strong measures to punish the heartless producers of substandard and fake food so they will pay a high price”, Li said.

Source: Reuters – “China’s new premier vows to tackle pollution, offers few details”

Categories: Health & Environment

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 replies


  1. Dust in Eastern China | China Daily Mail
  2. China’s smog levels get the cartoon treatment | China Daily Mail
  3. IBM signs up to help fight China’s war on smog | China Daily Mail
  4. China: Beijing to enforce use of clean coal in anti-pollution drive | China Daily Mail
  5. China risks social conflict if war on pollution lags, researchers warn | China Daily Mail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: