Deserts, forests and 'green GDP' - what Xi discusses with fellow lawmakers
BEIJING - As a national lawmaker, President Xi Jinping joins other deputies to China's top legislature each year as they deliberate issues of national importance during the annual "two sessions."
The 13th National People's Congress kicked off its fourth session this week, unveiling a draft of China's modernization plan for the next 15 years, in which "green development" is highlighted as a priority.
On Friday, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, sat down with fellow lawmakers from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with ecological conservation among the main topics of discussion.
Inner Mongolia, situated along China's northern border, is seen as a shield for the country's ecological security. The region is China's "green Great Wall," according to Xi.
During the deliberations, Xi discussed desertification control and forest protection with fellow deputies.
Lawmaker Zhang Xiaobing from the city of Bayannur reported to Xi on local efforts in eco-system restoration and the prevention of desertification near the northerly bend of the Yellow River.
Xi, who is familiar with the situation in the region near this section of the Yellow River, said, "Local environmental protection involves both tackling the salinization of agricultural land and preventing and controlling desertification."
Xi has always stressed adopting "a holistic approach" to conserving mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands. This time, he brought "deserts" into the picture.
Top-level design and comprehensive measures are needed to protect the eco-systems in mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts, Xi said.
Lawmaker Zhou Yizhe, who works at a tree farm, told the story of his changing identity, transforming from a logger to a forest ranger. The tree farm where he works has completely abandoned timber production, shifting its focus to environmental protection.
Zhou said that more wild animals are coming to the tree farm now, and according to research, the eco-system in the forests and wetlands there has become a source of wealth.
"Your identity shift from a logger to a forest ranger epitomizes our country's transformation in industrial structures," Xi said after hearing Zhou's story.
Highlighting the concept of "green GDP," Xi said that maintaining a good ecological environment is of enormous value.
He called on Inner Mongolia to continue to fight pollution and improve the environment in both urban and rural areas.