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China Finds Oldest Environmental Protection Rule

Xinhuanet 2002-04-24 15:15:46
   LANZHOU, April 24 (Xinhuanet) -- China was taking legal measures
to protect the natural environment as early as West Han Dynasty
(206 BC - 24 AD), according to the latest archeological discovery
from northwest China's Gansu Province.
   The country's oldest rule on environmental protection was
written on a piece of wall dug from a Han Dynasty ruin between
October 1990 and December 1992 in Dunhuang by archaeologists with
the Gansu Provincial Institute of Heritage and Archaeology.
   In reviewing their findings, the archaeologists had recently
concluded that it was an imperial order jointly signed by the
parents of the Pingdi Emperor.
   The rule, in 50 articles, has detailed provisions on activities
that were banned.
   For example, it prohibits the felling of trees and hunting of
young animals in spring, burning of woods in summer, mining in
autumn, or digging too deep in civil work in winter.
   The imperial order showed the ancient Chinese already had an
understanding of the importance of environmental protection and
sustainable growth, said He Shuangquan, head of the research team.
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