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China Seeks to Assign Officials Accountability for Environmental Quality

Xinhua. China will take into account environmental quality in evaluating the performance of regional officials. The measure is an attempt to curb “reckless” pursuit of GDP growth at the cost of the environment.

According to the decision of the State Council on strengthening environmental protection, the consumption of resources, environmental degradation and environmental efficiency will be phased into economic growth evaluation system.

“Result of the evaluation will become one of the factors to decide the appointment of officials and giving rewards or punishments to them,” says a decision of the State Council on strengthening environmental protection, made public Tuesday.

“Leading officials and other relevant government officials will be punished for making wrong decisions that cause serious environmental accidents and for gravely obstructing environmental law enforcement,” says the decision.

The State Council decision indicates that regional governments should set environmental protection targets and regularly evaluate efforts to meet the targets.

Last year, China fired the chief of its environmental protection administration for his responsibility in grave pollution of the Songhua River pollution, which affected water supply to millions of residents along the river.

“The officials will care more about environmental protection if their destinies are linked with it,” said Zhou Sheng, a university teacher in Beijing.

“If they begin to treat the environment seriously, then there is indeed hope in environmental protection,” he said.

The State Council decision also orders relevant departments to make fiscal, taxation, financial, pricing, trade, scientific and technological policies that support environmental protection.


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