China seeks to stem environmental protests
BEIJING (AP) - The Chinese government will require that future industrial projects include assessments of their risk to social stability, following several large protests around the country over pollution, a top official said on Monday.
The government will also increase transparency and public involvement in decisions regarding large projects with potential environmental impact, Minister for Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian told reporters on the sidelines of a Communist Party congress at which a new generation of leaders will be installed.
Mr Zhou acknowledged the sensitivity of the issue but said it was natural for such incidents to occur as living standards rise.
"I think it is inevitable that when a society is developed to a certain level, certain phenomena will naturally arise, this is regular. For China ... we are now in a sensitive period, especially in terms of environmental issues," he said.