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UPDATED: April 11, 2012
China's Environmental Protection Media Tour Kicks off

China's annual media tour for supervising nationwide environmental protection, organized by the country's legislature, kicked off Tuesday, with an emphasis on drinking water safety and mineral resources preservation.

The tour, which first ran in 1993, is hosted by the Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's legislature, and 13 other state departments.

Major domestic media are invited to participate in the tour to assess the implementation of the country's Water Law, which has been in place for a decade since its last revision in 2002, Zhang Wentai, vice chairman of the NPC environmental committee, told the inaugural ceremony.

Participating journalists will aim to find out the situation on water source protection, water supply security and water quality in urban and rural areas, according to Zhang.

Reporters will also find out whether "the strictest water resource management system," required by the State Council, or China's cabinet, in January, has been put in place, he said.

Densely populated China suffers "severe water shortages, uneven distribution of water resources and serious water contamination," which has created "a bottleneck for the country's economic development," said Vice Minister of Water Resources Hu Siyi.

Hu said reporters are expected to "go deep into the countryside" to uncover law violations in relation to water conservation during the tour, which will cover several regions.

It will also focus on the country's exploitation and preservation of mineral resources, especially strategic minerals such as rare earth, said Zhong Ziran, chief engineer of the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Noting that China's energy consumption largely depends on imports, Zhong said that more experience of mineral resources preservation should be fostered to enhance the level of mineral protection and ensure its role in promoting sustainable economic and social development.

(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2012)

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