China's Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Wu Xiaoqing said on March 7 the country's environmental protection efforts will not be eased despite an economic downturn.
"Setting economic development against environmental protection is not appropriate or correct," Wu told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the national political advisory body.
He said the more challenges economic growth faces, the more the government needs to strengthen environmental protection to ensure that development is done in an environmentally friendly way.
"Some areas are indeed facing an economic downturn, and some enterprises' profits are dropping, but the determination for environmental protection should not be weakened," he said.
"We shall not trade environment for GDP growth in the short term, which is not sustainable," Wu added.
The vice minister said he was pleased to see that China's new Five-Year Plan (2016-20) is more comprehensive and more strict when assessing environmental protection work in a more appropriate way.
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2016)