From China Dialogue:
China’s central government recently promoted “ecological civilisation” as an important aspect of a developed society in the report from the Communist Party’s seventeenth congress. This is encouraging news for China’s troubled environmental movement, but questions remain. Why, for instance, were trials of “green GDP ” abandoned in 10 provinces? Economic development still trumps environmental protection in China, and without attention at the highest levels, there can be no solution.
County-level environment bureaus are the grassroots of Chinese environmental protection. Although some areas do have departments at sub-county levels, these are rare. It is also at the county level that most ecological damage is done, and from this level that the pollution devastating China’s seven largest river systems originates. The country’s many small-and-medium enterprises, which are dirtier and harder to clean up than larger firms, are also mostly located at the county level. But what do the local environment officials have to say? [Full Text]