The second session of the 13th National People’s Congress opened at 9:00 on the morning of Mar. 5 at the Great Hall of the People.
The Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang delivered the government work report. He noted that last year was the first year for us to comprehensively implement the guiding principles of the 19th National Congress of the CPC and the beginning year of this term of cabinet. China was confronted with complicated and daunting circumstances rarely seen for years both at home and aboard, and the economy underwent downward pressure.
However, under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we have acted under the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, forged ahead, overcome difficulties, and achieved the main objectives for national economic and social development and made major progress in securing a victory in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
To be specific, the GDP growth rate exceeded 90 trillion yuan, up 6.6 percent; with a better economic structure, the consumption played a bigger part in fueling economic growth; the energy consumption per unit of GDP went down 3.1 percent, and the quality and benefits continued to improve; the three tough battles over pollution saw a good beginning, the pollution control was strengthened, the concentration of fine particulate matter continued to drop, and the ecological improvement made notable progress.
Over the past year, we have formulated and implemented the three-year action plans for three tough battles over pollution, waged the war on the protection of the blue skies, clean waters, and clean soils on all fronts, optimized the energy and transportation structures, and made steady progress in the “gas for coal” and “electricity for coal” projects in the northern part of China. We have established the river chief system and lake chief system, cut down the use of both chemical fertilizers and pesticides, tightened ecological and environmental supervision and enforcement, and actively addressed climate change.
However, we should be keenly aware of the problems and challenges in the development process. We still face arduous tasks in the areas of ecological conservation and pollution control.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the New China, which is essential for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society and achieving the first centennial objective. We will pursue the new development philosophy and high-quality development, and continue to put up the three tough battles over pollution. The main objectives include a 6 percent-6.5 percent GDP growth rate, further ecological improvement, around 3 percent drop of the energy consumption per unit of GDP, and continued decline of the emissions of major pollutants.
We will strengthen pollution control and ecological improvement, and vigorously promote green development. Green development is a necessity for establishing a modern economic system and a fundamental policy for tackling pollution. We should make reforms to improve relevant institutions and balance the high-quality development with ecological and environmental protection.
We will continue to control pollution. We will consolidate what we have achieved in protecting the blue skies and make further progress. This year, the emission of SO2 and NOx will drop 3 percent, and the concentration of fine particulate matters in key areas will continue to decline. We will continue to control the air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas, the Yangtze River delta, and the Fenhe-Weihe Plain, and step up the control of the pollution from the industries, coal burning, and vehicles. We will continue to promote clean heat supply in the northern part of the country, strengthen the control of water and soil pollution, and bring down the discharge of COD and ammonia nitrogen by 2 percent. We will quicken the pace to treat the dark and odorous waters and advance the integrated management of the key river basins and offshore sea waters. We will strengthen the sorting and disposal of solid wastes and municipal garbage. The enterprises play the major part in controlling pollution, so they should perform the environmental protection responsibilities in accordance with law. We will reform and be creative in the environmental governance approach, supervise the enterprises in accordance with laws and regulations on the one hand, and listen to their reasonable appeals and offer guidance on the other hand. We will give a leniency period for the enterprises that need to make rectifications to achieve environmental standards, and neither take rough disposal measures nor simply shut them down.
We will develop the green and environment-friendly industries. We will accelerate the upgrading of the thermal power and iron and steel sectors to achieve ultra-low emissions, and of the heavy polluting industries to attain emission standards. We will promote the clean use of coals and quicken the pace to address the issue on the consumption of wind power, solar power, and hydropower. We will make greater efforts in the construction of municipal wastewater pipelines and treatment facilities, advance the resource conservation and recycling, and promote green buildings. We will make reforms on the environmental and economic policies, accelerate the development of green financing, foster specialized backbone environmental enterprises, and enhance the green development capacity.
We will strengthen the ecosystem conservation and restoration. We will move forward with the pilot projects on the restoration of the mountain, water, forest, farmland, lake, and grass ecosystems, and continue with the work in the afforestation, desertification control, water and soil erosion control and biodiversity conservation. We will deepen the reform on the national park system.
Each one of us is responsible for pursuing green development. What’s important is for us to take actions and value persistence. Only by doing so can we be successful, stressed Premier Li. We will make concerted efforts so that the people will enjoy a beautiful and livable environment.