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China Faces Grave Environmental Situation: Li Peng

15 October 1998, Guilin, Xinhau - Top Chinese lawmaker Li Peng today described China's environmental situation as "extremely grim" and said the country faces the arduous task of protecting environment and natural resources.

The tremendous pressure on natural resources and the environment comes mainly from population growth, said Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, at the 6th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarians' Conference on Environment Protection and Development that opened here today.

Despite government endeavors in population growth control, China still has an increase of about 13 million people each year. Official estimates put total population in China at 1.3 billion by year 2,000.

Li reviewed the flood-fighting and relief efforts in China this summer and said the main reason for the occurrence of serious floods is an abnormal climate, especially intense rainfall and huge precipitation.

"China's capabilities in combating floods and waterlogging are not strong and there are many problems awaiting solutions," Li said, adding the Chinese government will give top priority to harnessing rivers and lakes, undertaking water conservancy projects, planting trees and grasses and reducing soil erosion.

All these tasks were outlined by president Jiang Zemin in his speech at the recent national conference for commending flood-fighting heros, which will help raise China's capability to prevent floods, fight natural disasters and improve the quality of the ecological environment, Li said.

15/10/98 07:49 GMT

Friday 16 Oct 1998
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