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China's unique way to build ecological civilization (2)

By John Bellamy Foster (People's Daily Online)    09:30, June 11, 2015

China’s Ecological Civilization and Marxism

What is clear about the present Chinese emphasis on ecological civilization is that it has emerged out of a broad socialist perspective, influenced by both Marxian analysis, and China’s own distinct history, culture, and vernacular. In China, as opposed to the West, the land remains social or collective property and cannot be sold. I believe it is wrong therefore to see China’s initiative in the construction of ecological civilization to be a direct outgrowth of Western-style ecological modernism, as some have supposed. At the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in 2007 it was officially proposed that China should build an “ecological civilization,” creating more sustainable relations between production, consumption, distribution, and economic growth. At the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, “ecological civilization construction” was written into the CPC Constitution. These principles were built into the latest five-year plan (2011-2015). Although many have questioned the seriousness of the CPC’s commitment to the construction of an ecological civilization, it is evident that this: (1) arose out of real needs in China, where there has been enormous ecological devastation; (2) was a response to the growth of massive environmental protests throughout China; and (3) has been followed up by massive government efforts in area of planning, production, and technological development.

Behind all of this of course is the fact that China’s environmental problems are massive and growing. This is the inevitable result of extremely rapid economic growth which has not sufficiently protected the environment, coupled with other factors such as climate change. China’s environmental concerns include: amongst the world’s most severe air pollution in major cities, deforestation; desertification, sandstorms contributing massively to air pollution; loss of arable land; seizures of farmland for urban development; water shortages, water pollution; unsafe drinking water; toxic waste dumping; urban congestion and overcrowding; overpopulation; over-reliance on coal-fired plants, rising carbon dioxide emissions, potential energy shortages; and issues of food security.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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