Southern Weekend published an interview with SEPA vice-minister Pan Yue about the newly launched “environmental storm,” most of which has been translated by Three Gorges Probe. In the interview, Pan says:
I have repeatedly stressed that the environment deteriorates because of officials’ skewed concept of political accomplishment. But now, powerful interest groups and officials’ distorted view of what constitutes political achievement have joined forces, to the environment’s detriment.
The presence of powerful interest groups stems from the frenzied expansion of highly polluting and energy-consuming industries. On the one hand, local governments are intent on pushing ahead with large industrial projects as they pursue quick, short-term results. On the other hand, encouraged and protected by local governments, the enterprises concerned do everything in their power to turn the natural resources that are owned by all the people into their own personal property, regardless of the consequences. This has not only undermined the central government’s macroeconomic policies but has also gone against the interests of ordinary people, and led to social unrest. [Full text]