China punishes officials over environmental protection in Qilian Mountai



China has issued a warning over the environmental protection situation in the Qilian Mountains national nature reserve in northwest Gansu Province and punished senior officials in the province, according to an official document released on Thursday.

The document, jointly issued by general offices of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, said though the local government has made efforts in environmental protection, problems still existed in over-exploitation of mining resources, illegal construction of hydropower facilities and excessive emission and sewage disposal of enterprises in the area.

Photo taken by a tourist on the Qilian Mountains, where garbage can be spotted on May 14, 2017.

The decision was made after an inspection team investigated the environmental situation in the area.

Officials were removed from their offices, including the heads of Bureau of Land and Resources and Forestry Department and Fishery Bureau of Gansu Province.

Other provincial-level officials, including the vice-governor Yang Zixing, have also been held accountable for the failure to prevent and look into the environmental issues.

The Qilian Mountains stand on the border of Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and was designated as a national nature reserve site in 1988.

However, illegal mining and many unlawful construction projects have damaged its environment.

Summer scenery of the Qilian Mountains.

As part of China's efforts to improve the environment, "ecological civilization" was among the five priorities put forward by the Communist Party of China during its 18th National Congress in 2012.

In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping again called for efforts to push green development and green lifestyles as the country seeks to better balance economic growth and environmental protection.

Xi said the country should also improve mechanisms that promote China's "ecological civilization," applying the strictest systems and the most rigorous laws to protect the environment.