IV. Territorial Control and Rural
Environmental Protection

Territorial control forms part of China's work in implementing the sustainable development strategy. Since the start of the reform and opening-up era, the Chinese government has carried out territorial control on a large scale.

-- New progress has been made in territorial control planning. In this work the Chinese government has formulated a sequence of national, trans-provincial and key-regional territorial control plans, such as the National Program for Overall Land Use Planning, the National Program for Afforestation, the National Plan for Marine Development, the National Program for Water and Soil Conservation, the Comprehensive Plan for China's Seven Major River Valleys, the Plan for Economic Development in the Three Gorges Area, the Economic Plan for the Yangtze River Delta and Areas Along the River, Key Points of the Economic Plan for Northwestern Areas, and the Resources Development and Environment Protection Plan for the Juncture of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia. Some provinces and cities have also drawn up or revised local territorial control plans and the overall plan for land use. By the end of 1995 the overall plan for land use had been 60 percent completed at the provincial level, 69 percent at the city (prefectural) level and 63 percent at the county level.

-- Many achievements have been made in research on territorial control. To help formulate the Ninth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Outline of the Long-Term Target for the Year 2010, the Chinese government, proceeding from realizing coordination and sustainable development of the economy, society, population, resources and environment, has organized research on vital issues such as the development of territorial resources and environmental control, the overall plan for the national territory, and how well mineral resources can satisfy the demands of the national economy. It has also completed the Major Issues on the Development of National Territorial Resources and Environmental Control During 1996-2010 and other research reports on special subjects. The government has laid down the overall framework of optimizing the development and control of territorial resources, the regional development strategy and distribution of territorial resources exploitation, as well as the targets and measures of territorial control and environmental protection.

Notable successes have been attained in the harnessing of main rivers and lakes. Since the foundation of New China in 1949 the Chinese government has taken comprehensive exploitation and control of major rivers and lakes, with emphasis on the prevention and control of flood and waterlogging, as an important task of water conservancy construction. During the Eighth Five-Year Plan period, on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the lower reaches of the Yellow River, and on the Huaihe, Haihe, Songhua and Liaohe rivers and Lake Taihu, the main dikes were heightened and reinforced, waterways were cleaned up, and flood diversion projects were built. The construction of a group of key projects for water control and other uses were completed or started. To compensate for lack of water resources in northern areas, the Chinese government vigorously promoted the planning and construction of water-diversion projects between different drainage basins. In November 1995 it sponsored an overall feasibility study of the middle, eastern and western lines projects for diverting water from south to north.

The Three Gorges Project is a gigantic, trans-century project for harnessing and developing the Yangtze River. When it is completed, floods on the upper reaches will be effectively controlled and areas on the middle and lower reaches will be able to improve their anti-flood capability, thus lessening the harmful effects on the ecological environment. Hydroelectricity, which will be the energy discharged by the project, causes much less pollution than coal-burning power plants. The government has organized experts to work out the Report on the Impact of the Three Gorges Project on the Ecology and Environment, and Countermeasures, and has approved the Environmental Impact Statement of the Three Gorges Project. The government will adopt a sequence of measures to minimize the unfavorable effects on the ecology and the environment that could be caused by the Three Gorges Project.

-- Land preservation, exploitation and control have been promoted on a full scale. In order to put cultivated land under proper protection, basic farmland preservation areas have been delimited all over the country, in accordance with the Regulations on the Protection of Basic Farmland. By the end of 1995, 2,100 units at the county level had finished the work, with well over 70 percent of farmland put under effectual protection. Planned management of the land to be used for construction has been strengthened, putting the total area and makeup of such land under proper control. Random occupation of farmland has been curbed to some extent. In 1995, farmland used for construction was 20.8 percent less than the previous year. In recent years, the government has formulated the Key Points of National Planning for Desertication Control During 1991-2000 to speed up the desertification prevention and control project. It is planned that 6.667 million hectares of desertified land will be treated over ten years. The development of 20 key counties, nine experimental areas and 22 demonstration bases of the national desertification prevention and control project has been brought into line with the development plan of the national economy. During the Eighth Five-Year Plan period 3.759 million hectares of desertified land were tackled in a comprehensive way. The Chinese government also devotes much attention to water and soil conservation. It has effectively prevented soil erosion and improved the ecological environment and agricultural conditions. At present, 25 key soil erosion control areas have been established at the national level. Water and soil conservation projects are carried out in seven big river valleys. In more than 10,000 small river valleys with serious soil erosion, problems concerning mountains, rivers, farmland and forests are tackled in a comprehensive way. Soil erosion has been checked in a total area of 67 million hectares, and a great number of water and soil conservation projects have been completed, making eroded soil decrease by 1.1 billion tons every year and water conservation capacity increase by 18 billion cubic meters. In the comprehensive soil erosion control area in the Loess Plateau, a total of 15 million hectares of land have been treated -- 30 percent of the soil erosion area -- with over 300 million tons less silt flowing into the Yellow River every year. Since the publication of the Regulations on Land Reclamation, most of the provinces and cities have worked out procedures for implementation of these regulations and some dozen provinces and autonomous regions have put into effect procedures for raising funds for land reclamation and for the use and administration of these funds. As a result, remarkable progress has been made in the country's reclamation of discarded land. From 1987 to 1995 a total of about 3.5 million hectares of land were reclaimed, among which 600,000 hectares had been waste land. In 1989 the experimental work of land reclamation was carried out in major mineral-producing provinces. In 1995 construction of three national-level reclamation demonstration zones was started in sunken areas of coalfields, while the national reclamation technical standards were stipulated. Tongshan County in Jiangsu Province invested 56 million yuan to reclaim 6,600 hectares of land, basically balancing land reclamation with land use.

-- The ability to combat natural disasters has been improved. The Chinese people have accumulated abundant experience in their protracted struggles against natural disasters, in which they laid down principles like ``putting prevention first and combining prevention and control,'' and ``combining pre"ivention and rescue.'' A working system has been primarily established to avert all kinds of natural disasters, and a contingent of experienced scientists and researchers of various disciplines has been organized and monitoring stations and networks for main natural disasters have taken initial shape.

China has traditionally been an agricultural country. In developing agricultural production, the government attaches great importance to rural environmental protection.

-- Achievements have been made in eco-agriculture. The government has taken the development of eco-agriculture as an important means to realize the coordinated development of the environment and the economy. At present, the 50 eco-agricultural experimental counties designated by the state are playing positive and exemplary roles in the country, spurring development of eco-agriculture in 10 prefectures and over 100 counties. According to statistics, the total output of grain of the experimental counties has increased by 15 percent, output per mu by upwards of 10 percent, and the income per capita is 12 percent higher than the average level of the surrounding areas. The practice of eco-agriculture has brought about striking improvements in the agricultural ecological environment -- barren hills greened, forest acreage greatly raised, soil erosion controlled to some extent, organic matter content of the soil increased, and the ability of the agricultural ecological system to ward off natural disasters improved. In the meantime, in order to promote regional sustainable development, construction of some 100 ecological demonstration areas, mainly at the county level, has been started in an all-round way.

-- Further development of rural energy construction. Energy construction in rural areas is an important measure for protecting and improving the rural ecological environment. In 1991 comprehensive energy construction in rural areas was started in 100 counties. As a result, a capacity equivalent to 10.8 million tons more of standard coal was added every year and 11.37 million tons were saved. In 1995 fuel-saving stoves, methane, solar, wind and geothermal energy sources and small hydropower stations began to develop and were popularized in rural areas throughout the country. In this way, annually 80 million tons of standard coal equivalent can be saved and additionally produced. Methane-generating pits for agricultural use were dug to benefit 5.69 million households and fuel-saving stoves were in use in 170 million households.

-- Pollution prevention and control in township enterprises have been strengthened. Township enterprises are a strong mainstay of the Chinese rural economy and an important sector of the national economy. Because of their rapid development, the environmental problems they caused attracted the serious attention of the Chinese government and people. In the past decade, environmental management and pollution prevention and control in township enterprises have made some progress. In areas along the eastern coast, the technical and equipment levels of township enterprises have been gradually raised. Centralized pollution control has been carried out, along with construction of small towns, township enterprises zones and economic development zones. All these steps have seen certain outcomes. Zhangjiagang City in Jiangsu Province is spurring its economy to develop rapidly while paying due attention to prevention of environmental pollution by township enterprises. It has thus realized a coordinated development of both the environment and the economy. In the central and western areas township enterprises have been actively guided, aided and supervised to prevent environmental pollution spreading. It should be pointed out that environmental protection in areas of township enterprises is still an arduous task, and that the government will keep guiding them to develop in a healthy way, preventing and alleviating environmental pollution through reinforced environmental management.

-- Development of green and organic foods is welcomed. In order to meet the people's increasing demands for high-quality food, and to protect agricultural natural resources and the ecological environment, relevant departments began in 1990 to develop ``green food,'' featuring pollution-free, safe, high-quality and nutritious contents. By the end of 1995 a total of 568 sorts of green food had been developed, many of them becoming well-known products. Since the start of the development of green food, 1.13 million hectares of land have been well protected. In 1995 a government department published the Procedures on the Administration of Organic (Natural) Food Labelling. Organic (natural) food unpolluted by chemical fertilizers and farm chemicals has now appeared in China.