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What are China's principles of ecological civilization?

To develop an ecological civilization in the new era, the following principles must be upheld.

The first principle is that harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. Throughout the process of development, we must prioritize environmental conservation and protection and put the restoration of nature first. We cannot think about what we can take from nature without considering how we can give back to it; we cannot think about development while ignoring our responsibility to protect the environment; and we cannot think about how we can use nature without looking at how we can restore it. We should protect our natural environment in the same way we would protect our own well-being, focusing on taking more positive measures that will provide solid foundations and long-term benefits, concrete steps that will help protect and restore the environment, and effective actions that will clean up our surroundings and reveal their natural beauty. This will allow the people to be close to mountains and waters and recall their rural roots with fond memories, ensure that pristine natural vistas are never too far away, and preserve the serenity, harmony, and beauty of nature.

The second principle is that our natural environment is precious. At their roots, environmental problems are problems with the ways in which we live and develop. In order to resolve them at the fundamental level, we must implement principled development that is innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared, and accelerate the formation of spatial patterns, industrial structures, modes of production, and lifestyles conducive to resource conservation and environmental protection. We must also keep economic activities and human activity in general within the limits of what our environment and natural resources can bear, giving the environment the time and space that it needs to rest and recuperate.

The third principle is that there is no welfare more universally beneficial than a sound natural environment. We must ensure that the environment benefits the people, stressing the resolution of prominent environmental problems that impact public health, accelerating the improvement of environmental quality, and providing more high-quality ecological goods as we strive to achieve social equity and justice and consistently meet the people's growing needs for a beautiful environment.

The fourth principle is that our mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes and grasslands together form a biotic community. We must seek out a new path for environmental governance by treating it as a systematic project and looking at it from an overall perspective. Rather than continuing to treat superficial symptoms through stopgap measures with government departments each looking out for their own immediate problems while holding each other back, we must make plans that take all factors into consideration and simultaneously implement multiple comprehensive measures to ensure that our efforts to build an ecological civilization permeate all fields, regions, and processes.

The fifth principle is that the strictest regulations and laws must be applied in protecting the environment. Environmental protection must have legal and regulatory backing. Most of China's outstanding problems in environmental protection are related to inadequate systems, lax regulations, imperfect laws, lacking enforcement, and ineffectual punishment. We must accelerate innovation of regulations, ensuring that they offer more, have adequate peripheral support, and that they are rigorously enforced. By doing so, we will turn our regulations into rigid and inviolable constraints.

The sixth principle is that joint efforts must be made in building a global ecological civilization. We must be deeply involved in global environmental governance, build China's say and influence in the global environmental governance system, actively guide the transformation of the international order, and create solutions for environmental protection and sustainable development around the world.

(Source: Extract from Xi Jinping's speech at the National Conference on Environmental Protection, May 18, 2018.)

This episode is presented by Luo Laiming.