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China finds Qinghai governments, departments failed to protect environment

The Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve is in Amdo (Photo courtesy: VCG)

(TibetanReview.net, May11’20) – A high-profile central environmental protection inspection team has found local governments and departments in Qinghai province to have not only failed to enforce China’s environmental protection laws but to have also been guilty of violations themselves, according to China’s official chinadaily.com.cn May 11.

Some local governments and departments in Qinghai province, for example, had “weak awareness of the rule of law,” the report cited China’s environment ministry as saying. Its summary report for the province was stated to have noted that Qinghai’s Zeku County (ie, Tsekhog County in Malho Prefecture) even planned to build a refuse landfill in Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve, the source of China’s three great rivers-the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Lancang River.

The news report said local governments in two other counties in Qinghai were criticized for invading watercourses and natural grassland to excavate sand. Companies in one of the counties mined sand in the name of dredging waterways, and the “local government and relevant departments turned a blind eye to it”, the government report was quoted as saying.

The news report added that Qinghai was not the only region with violations that crossed red lines protecting land.

The report said hundreds of officials had been punished and many local authorities criticized after the first batch of teams in the latest round of a high-profile central inspection of environmental protection efforts concluded their work in five provinces. The provinces included Fujian and Hainan. It was not mentioned which were the remaining two provinces. The team was dispatched in Jul 2019 and its summary reports were released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment over the weekend (May 9-10).

The news report said 1,594 officials had been summoned for environmental violations, over 300 officials had been held accountable for breaches, and fines totalling almost 1.8 billion yuan ($254.5 million) had been imposed on 2,508 companies. It was not mentioned how many of those held accountable were from Qinghai.

The report said eight inspection teams were included in the first batch of the ongoing inspection launched last year and the latest round will eventually cover all the Chinese mainland.

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