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Full Text: Human Rights in Xinjiang - Development and Progress
June 02,2017   By:Xinhua
VI. Environmental Rights
 
Xinjiang upholds the basic national policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment. Giving priority to environmental protection, it pursues ecology-friendly and sustainable development on the path toward a future of economic development where life is prosperous and a healthy environment is conserved, so as to constantly promote harmony between man and nature and effectively ensuring the people's environmental rights.
 
Framework of eco-environmental protection has been further improved. Over 30 local regulations and rules, including the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the Implementation of the Water and Soil Conservation Law of the People's Republic of China, and the Regulations of Urumqi City on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, Regulations on Wild Plants Protection, Regulations on Wetland Protection, and Regulations on the Environmental Protection for the Development of Coal, Petroleum and Natural Gas have been promulgated and implemented. The Regulations on Environmental Protection have been amended twice. Water Function Zoning of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has been implemented, and work on creating and revising the Environmental Function Zoning of Xinjiang has been accelerated, which will provide a basic technical foundation for the drawing of ecological red lines. A framework of ecological protection, pollution control, radioactive environment monitoring, and monitoring of hazardous waste and nuclear safety is in place.
 
Solid progress has been made in ecological development. Xinjiang has carried out a number of projects, including natural forest protection, returning farmland to forest or grassland, returning grazing land to grassland, prevention and control of desertification, ecological management and restoration, and wildlife protection, to constantly improve the ecological environment and create secure zones for ecological security. Since 2016, projects involving high energy consumption, serious pollution, and high emissions have been strictly prohibited in Xinjiang. A "one-chop" examination system has been enforced for the development of energy and mineral resources before approval obtained from the government of the autonomous region, besides a "one-veto" system for issues concerning environmental protection. As of the end of 2016, oasis forest coverage had reached 24 percent, grassland comprehensive vegetation coverage had reached 41 percent, and the forest network was providing effective protection to 95 percent of the farmland. Every year, Xinjiang improves 20 million mu (approximately 1,333,333 ha) of grassland suffering from degradation, desertification and salinization, reducing the expansion of desertified land to 82.8 sq km a year. Of the 79 major rivers, 94 percent have high water quality. Wetlands total more than 3.94 million hectares in area. There are 29 state- and autonomous region-level nature reserves, 28 state-level wetland parks, and one world natural heritage.
 
Urban living environment continues to improve. Xinjiang has worked to promote urban ecological restoration in an all-round manner, to speed up construction of urban ecological gardens and urban wetland resources, and to continuously enhance the quality of urban green space and comprehensive service functions. As of the end of 2015, the greening rate of urban built-up areas had reached 35 percent, the green coverage rate had reached 37 percent, and per-capita park green area had reached 11.5 sq m. There are 20 state- and autonomous region-level garden cities, 44 state- and autonomous region-level green countytowns, and one state-level urban wetland park.