2008——The Green China Year
By Jia Feng
The year 2008 is the first year of the implementation of the strategic plan of the 17th National Congress of the CPC, and a crucial year for fulfilling the target of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan; 2008 is the year for China to display to the whole world the achievements of Reform and Opening up over the past three decades, the year of our peaceful rise in which “the Olympic Flame is to light the East, and the century-long Olympic dream of the Chinese nation is to come true”.
To this event, not only the Chinese people have their firsthand experiences and common ground, the foreigners also like to associate the year 2008 with China. In the past, Western Media’s focus on China was often transient, local, staying on the surface and in a “no skin off my nose” manner; but now the focus becomes continual, all-round, deep and of interactive interests. These characteristics are reflected by the cover story of Newsweek, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Deutsche Welle in Europe and reports on China in The Guardian in Great Britain.
From the historical point of view, all these show the result of our persevering endeavor of Reform and Opening-up over the last three decades during which China has experienced processes from quantitative changes to qualitative changes. USA’s former Treasury secretary “Lawrence Summers has recently pointed out that during the Industrial Revolution the average European's living standards rose about 50 percent over the course of his lifetime (then about 40 years). In Asia, principally China, he calculates, the average person's living standards are set to rise by 10,000 percent in one lifetime! The scale and pace of growth in China has been staggering, utterly unprecedented in history—and it has produced equally staggering change. In two decades China has experienced the same degree of industrialization, urbanization and social transformation as Europe did in two centuries.” (Newsweek, USA)
Fareed Zakaria thus writes: for much of the world, it is likely to be seen as the year that China moved to center stage, with the Olympics serving as the country's long-awaited coming-out party. The much-heralded advent of China as a global power is no longer a forecast but a reality. On issue after issue, China has become the second most important country on the planet. Consider what's happened already this past year. In 2007 China contributed more to global growth than the United States, the first time another country had done so since at least the 1930s. (Newsweek, USA)
When the world has named 2008 as the China year we find it necessary to inform all people that green is to be the background color of 2008. In 2007, China’s emission reduction was remarkably progressed, and our policy and law system greatly improved; energy-saving project was formally launched, and pollution reduction had a favorable turn, with the total emission amount of two major pollutants decreased for the first time.
With the coming of 2008, Recycling Economy Law will be put into effect as a legal guarantee for energy saving and pollution reduction. China will take more forceful measures to further the work on energy saving and pollution reduction. Take pollutant control for example, the emission amount of SO2 and COD in 2008 is to be reduced by 6% and 5% compared with those in 2005; all of the centralized surface-water drinking water sources in 113 key environment-friendly cities will be required to reach the standard. The Olympic Games to begin on August the 8th will be the stage to show our environment protection results and how China keeps the promise of “Green Olympics”. We are anticipating China’s bluer sky, clearer water and happier life in 2008.
The author considers 2006 as China’s historic turning point of environment protection, and 2007 the year in the new green long march to overcome core difficulties. This year—in 2008, we will demonstrate our capacity to the world in environment protection. Beijing Olympics will provide an opportunity for us to enjoy the value of a beautiful environment. If we were a green multiple unit named “eco-civilization”, running fast towards the bright future, then Beijing Olympics would be the accelerator, making us ever determined to build an energy saving and environment-friendly society.
The year 2008 is not only China year, but more of a Green China year.