Horses gallop on the grassland in Xilingol League, Inner Mongolia, China, July 23, 2021. /CFP
"The next five years is a crucial period for building a Beautiful China, which should be placed in a prominent position in building a great modern socialist country in all respects and advancing national rejuvenation," Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a national conference on ecological and environmental protection held from July 17 to 18.
In 2012, the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) proposed the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan, including the governing strategies in economic, political, cultural, societal, and ecological fields, to realize socialism with Chinese characteristics for the first time.
Five years later, the 19th National Congress of the CPC formulated schedules with details for further implementation of the plan, emphasizing that the overall layout of "five-integrated-into-one" is an organic whole, with economic construction being the foundation, political construction the guarantee, cultural construction the soul, societal construction the condition, and ecological civilization construction the foundation.
While most China watchers and analysts have focused on economic achievements and challenges, few of them have attached equal attention to the ecological field, which deserve more attention.
A clear and targeted thought
People always say that China has completed the industrialization process in a few decades that other developed countries have gone through for hundreds of years, and China has also accumulated a large number of ecological and environmental issues that other developed countries had encountered before. The only difference is that these developed countries were small in terms of populations and territorial size while having more time and space to digest those issues. Unfortunately, China has neither.
How could China tackle this problem? That is a big question, not only for this generation but for the future.
Since the CPC's 18th National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has emphasized that the construction of ecological civilization is a millennium plan related to the sustainable development of the Chinese nation. Based on that, a clear and targeted thought has gradually come into being to guide the following socioeconomic practices. In the past decades, General Secretary Xi Jinping has conducted numerous inspections to different places and profoundly elaborated on ecological civilization in the process of modernization.
Since then, the CPC leadership in the new era has fully realized that China will not be able to become a modern country by simply copying the old path of the Western powers. Not only China but also the world can hardly sustain if mankind were going the old way of consuming more resources and polluting the natural environment.
The keywords to understanding Xi Jinping Thoughts on Ecological Civilization are system, balance, and coordination. Firstly, it deeply clarifies the relationship between mankind and nature, putting forward the basic strategy of adhering to the harmonious coexistence between mankind and nature, since mankind and nature belong to a same life-community. Secondly, it profoundly expounds the relationship between economic development and environmental protection, proposing the famous concept that "mountains and rivers green are mountains of silver and gold."
Thirdly, it deeply clarifies the relationship between the environment and people's livelihood, formulating the major thesis that an excellent ecological environment is an indispensable part of people's livelihood and well-being. Last but not least, it profoundly expounds the relationship between various elements of natural ecology, putting forward the systematic idea that landscapes, forests, lakes and grasses are the community of life.
Black-necked cranes spread their wings along a lake in the Sanjiangyuan National Park in northwest China's Qinghai Province, May 7, 2021. /CFP
Continuous and coordinating efforts for a beautiful China and a better world
Since the official formulation of Xi Jinping Thoughts on Ecological Civilization in 2018, adhering to the harmonious coexistence of mankind and natural environment has become one of the basic strategies for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era while the construction of a beautiful China has become an important goal of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way.
With the CPC's strong and effective leadership, the Chinese government at all levels have made continuous and coordinating efforts in making the goals become true. Firstly, they have unswervingly implemented the new development philosophy, particularly maintaining the strategic focus on the construction of ecological civilization, seeking a dynamic balance among multiple goals such as environmental, economic and social benefits, and promoting high-quality economic development with high-level protection of the ecological environment.
Secondly, they have waged a series of battles against pollution. This include but not limited to the increase in days with good air quality, blue skies and clean waters, the strengthening of ecosystem protection and restoration, and the substantial improvement of biosecurity management.
Thirdly, they have actively promoted the modernization of the ecological environment governing systems and governing capacity. Among all the systems, it is arguable that the Central Environmental Protection Inspection system is a key reform measure deployed by General Secretary Xi Jinping.
What is more, the reforms also include issuing the "Opinions on Accelerating the Construction of Ecological Civilization" and the "Overall Plan for the Reform of the Ecological Civilization System," formulating and revising many laws with strict punishments such as the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law and the Yangtze River Protection Law.
The 20th CPC National Congress has underlined that we should take the road of Chinese modernization, and one of the contributing characters is the balance between mankind and nature. It is just by doing so that China will make contribution to building human civilization.
作者：Xia Lu a special commentator for CGTN, is an associate professor and research fellow at the National Academy for Development and Strategy, the Academy of Xi Jinping Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, Renmin University of China. The article reflects the authors' opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.Gao Lei, a special commentator for CGTN, is an associate professor at the Center for Xi Jinping Thoughts on Opening-up, Research Institute of Globalization and China's Modernization, University of International Business and Economics.
原文链接：Environmental protection: How to build a 'beautiful China'