Chinese President Hu Jintao, in a speech to the country’s Communist Party Congress yesterday, promised environmental as well as economic reforms in the next five years. Shying away from specifics in his 2.5-hour speech, Hu said that China’s “ecological and environmental quality will improve notably.” He acknowledged that “[China’s] economic growth is realized at an excessively high cost of resources and the environment,” and spoke of increasing funds spent on energy issues and conservation, with an eye toward controlling pollution and improving environmental conditions for both rural and urban residents. He said the country will “promote a conservation culture by basically forming an energy and resource-efficient and environmentally friendly structure of industries, pattern of growth, and mode of consumption.” Hu also said the government would reduce reliance on exports by encouraging its own citizens to spend more, and that the country aims to quadruple its economic output per capita from 2000 levels by 2020.

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