The International Herald Tribune lauds China’s vice minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Pan Yue, for his courage and insistence on challenging China’s development model and on promoting the environmental protection agenda in China:
Credit for most of these measures goes mostly to one man, Pan Yue, vice minister of the newly established Ministry of Environmental Protection. Pan has made it a personal mission to raise awareness of China’s ecological crisis since 2003, when he was appointed vice deputy of the ministry’s less powerful predecessor, the State Environmental Protection Administration.
“In 20 years, China has achieved economic results that took a century to attain in the West,” Pan says. “But we have also concentrated a century’s worth of environmental issues into those 20 years.”
He appears unafraid to challenge the “development” path that the Chinese Communist Party has taken for the past three decades: “There has been a flaw in our thinking: The belief that the economy decides everything. If the economy is booming, we thought, political stability will follow; if the economy is booming, we hoped, people will have enough to eat and live contented lives; if the economy is booming, we believed, there will be money everywhere and materialism will be enough to stave off the looming crises posed by our population, resources, environment, society, economy, and culture. But now it seems this will not be enough.”