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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Climate of public opinion

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

10:38, November 16, 2011

BEIJING -- The climate of public opinion will be monitored in environmental protection campaigns, according to a senior official.

Public satisfaction will be taken into account in a comprehensive system to assess the performance of local governments on environmental protection, said Bie Tao, deputy director of the policies, laws and regulations department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The system will be different from that currently in operation, which focuses on whether local governments have fulfilled preset pollution reduction targets.

Zhou Shengxian, the environment minister, confirmed that the ministry is revising air quality evaluation standards, aiming to bring them in line with internationally recognized appraisal systems.

"But (reaching the international standards) will be a gradual process, and won't be achieved all at once," Zhou told a high-level conference on the environment and development on Tuesday.

Under the existing system, officials are not promoted if they miss the preset targets. Consequently, local officials concentrate on figures and are "poorly motivated" to address public concern, Bie said.

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