BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping on Friday pledged that China will not sacrifice the environment for temporary economic growth, calling for all-round efforts to conserve resources and curb pollution.
China will have to carefully balance economic development and environmental protection, Xi said, at a study session on promoting ecological progress with members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
"We have to understand that to protect the environment is to preserve our productivity and to improve the environment is to develop our productivity. Such concepts should be deeply rooted," Xi said.
The country will consciously promote a green, sustainable and low-carbon development pattern, he said.
"We should be fully aware of the urgency and difficulty of protecting the environment and reducing pollution as well as the significance and necessity of improving the environment," he said. "We should take the responsibility for the sake of our people and our children."
The country is committed to this cause, he added.
ECOLOGICAL 'RED LINE'
During Friday's session, Xi vowed to set and strictly observe an ecological "red line" amid the country's rapid urbanization to protect the environment.
China should accelerate the implementation of a functional zoning strategy, he said.
The government should set and strictly observe an ecological "red line" which requires all regions to optimize, prioritize, restrict or prohibit their industrial development according to their defined nature, he said.
The concept of the ecological "red line" should be firmly established, Xi said, adding that more space should be provided for nature to restore itself.
"On issues of ecological and environmental protection, people should not cross the line or they will get punished," he said.
The functional zoning strategy should be carried out to advance urbanization, agricultural development and ecological security in a scientific and balanced way, he added.
According to Xi, conserving resources is the basic policy for protecting the ecological environment.
Efforts should be made to use resources more economically and promote ways to dramatically cut the consumption of energy, water and land, he said.
In addition, Xi called for comprehensive efforts to prevent and curb pollution, urging focus on areas surrounding rivers and lakes as well as major air-polluting industries.
"A sound eco-environment is the basic foundation for the sustainable development of humans and society...our environmental protection and rehabilitation efforts should focus on solving obvious issues that harm people's health," Xi said.
Stressing that only "the strictest system and most tightknit law enforcement" can provide a reliable guarantee for China's ecological progress, Xi urged for a responsibility-pursuing mechanism targeting those behind irresponsible decision-making that leads to severe environmental consequences.
According to Xi, an evaluation system should be set up to incorporate the waste of resources, environmental damage, ecological benefits and other aspects reflecting ecological conditions for the overall development of the economy and society.
Xi called on people to cultivate a lifestyle and production pattern incorporating resource conservation and environmental protection.
China must be determined to curb environmental pollution, build a sound ecosystem, and strive to usher in a new era of socialist ecological progress, he said.