7. Effectively strengthening environmental protection
Faster progress in work to improve the environment, particularly air quality, is what people are desperately hoping for, and is critical to sustainable development. We must adopt well-designed policies, tackle both symptoms and root causes, and take tough steps to make the grade in responding to the people.
We will make our skies blue again.
This year, we will see that sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions are both cut by 3 percent and that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) density in key areas falls markedly.
First, we will work faster to address pollution caused by coal burning. We will take comprehensive steps to reduce non-centralized coal burning operations, promote clean winter heating in the northern region, replace the use of coal with electricity and natural gas in more than 3 million households, and shut down all small coal-fired furnaces in established districts of cities at the prefectural level and above.
We will step up work on upgrading coal-fired power plants to achieve ultra-low emissions and energy conservation. Upgrading should be completed this year in the eastern region, next year in the central region, and by 2020 in the western region. We will act quickly to improve our mechanisms and technologies, enabling us to prioritize the integration of clean energy sources into the electric grid and effectively address wasted hydro-, wind- and solar-power generation capacities. We will develop nuclear power in a safe and highly efficient way. We will also work faster to make comprehensive use of straw.
Second, we will take a full range of measures to tackle the sources of pollution. We will take focused actions to curb pollution in key industries. We will place all key sources of industrial pollution under round-the-clock online monitoring, and ensure the quality of monitoring. We will set a clear deadline by which enterprises must meet required discharge standards, and take resolute law-based action to close down all those that still fail to meet standards after the deadline.
Third, we will strengthen control over exhaust emitted by motor vehicles. We will see that basically all higher-emission vehicles are scrapped, work faster to take old vehicles off the roads, carry out dedicated initiatives to deal with high-emission vehicles, and encourage the use of clean-energy cars. We will improve the quality of fuels and move faster to promote the use of those that meet National-VI emission standards in key areas.
Fourth, we will take effective steps to tackle heavy air pollution. We will strengthen analysis of sources of air pollution and research on the causes of smog to improve the scientific basis and precision of the steps taken. We will expand the coverage of mechanisms in key areas to ensure coordinated prevention and control efforts across regions, and enhance earlywarning and emergency response measures.
Fifth, we will strictly enforce environmental laws and regulations, conduct inspections, and hold violators accountable. Illegal dischargers and fraud must be punished in accordance with law. Officials who do a poor job in enforcing the law, knowingly allow environmental violations, or respond inadequately to worsening air quality will be held fully accountable.
Tackling smog is down to every last one of us, and success depends on action and commitment. As long as the whole of our society keeps trying, we will have more and more blue skies with each passing year.
We will strengthen the prevention and control of water and soil pollution.
This year, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen emissions should both drop by 2 percent. We will effectively prevent and control water pollution in key drainage basins, regions, and sea areas and agricultural pollution from non-point sources. We will undertake rigorous investigations on soil pollution and develop and implement category-based measures to tackle this problem. We will take comprehensive measures to improve both urban and rural environments, advocate green living, and promote waste sorting. We will strengthen energy conservation and environmental protection industries and develop green remanufacturing and circular industries to ensure both environmental improvement and economic growth.
We will move forward with ecological conservation and improvement.
We will act promptly to set redlines for ecological conservation and hold firm to these lines. We will work actively to respond to climate change. We will begin to pilot projects to improve the quality of our forests and restore ecosystems along the Yangtze Economic Belt, and launch the second group of trial projects to conserve the ecosystems of mountains, forests, farmland, rivers, and lakes. We will turn more than 800,000 hectares of marginal farmland into forests or grassland. We will address the spread of desertification and stony deserts. These initiatives will enable us to accumulate more ecological wealth and build a green Great Wall of sustainable development.
8. Promoting social development to ensure and improve the wellbeing of our people
The wellbeing of the people is at the center of governance; it must be always on our minds and the responsibility for it must never leave our shoulders. Against the backdrop of challenging and complex environments both at home and abroad, it is all the more imperative that we prioritize efforts to ensure and improve the wellbeing of our people, spare no effort to deliver benefit to them wherever possible, and ensure their basic living needs are met.
We will strive to boost employment and business startups.
We will improve employment policy, strengthen employment training, and increase support for flexible employment and new forms of employment.
This year, 7.95 million students will graduate from college, the highest number on record. We need to effectively implement initiatives to promote their employment, to guide them in starting businesses, and to encourage them to work at the community level, providing our college graduates with multiple channels to find jobs or start their own businesses. We will implement and improve policies and see that demobilized military personnel are settled into new jobs. We will step up employment assistance to help vulnerable urban residents and people with disabilities find employment and to ensure that at least one member in every family currently with zero employment secures a stable job.
Employment is crucial to ensuring people's wellbeing. We will focus our effort on facilitating employment to see that through their hard work, people can create wealth and realize their full potential.
We will work to ensure that our people have access to equitable and quality education.
We will combine the separate policies for rural and urban students receiving compulsory education that waive tuition and miscellaneous fees, supply free textbooks, and grant living allowances for boarders from financially disadvantaged families. We will make compulsory education accessible as a public service to all permanent urban residents, with and without local urban household registration. We will continue to improve conditions in badly built and poorly operated schools, and expand the reach of quality educational resources, so as to narrow the gap in the quality of education between urban and rural areas, different regions, and different schools.
We will continue to expand the enrollment of students from poor rural areas at key colleges and universities. We will increase government grants for PhD students. We will strengthen efforts to develop more world-class universities and first-class fields of discipline. We will continue to encourage some undergraduate institutions to shift their focus toward providing applied education.
We will pilot comprehensive reform of the college entrance examination system; accelerate the development of modern vocational education; ensure ethnic minorities improve their education; and make sure that we have good special needs education, continuing education, preschool education, and education for senior citizens. We will support the development of private education and work to ensure it meets all relevant standards. We will work to improve teacher performance. The Modernizing Chinese Education 2030 initiative will be developed and launched. We will develop education that satisfies the needs of our people, make the modernization of education underpin the modernization of our country, and see that more children realize their dreams and more families have their hopes fulfilled. (more)