03/08/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Zhejiang, the Party steps up to the challenge: We will swim in the (polluted) rivers

The mayor of Shaoxing, delegate to the National People’s Assembly, says he is "ready" to take the plunge in waters full of rubbish in his area. But the governor of the province applies the brakes: "It will take time before the situation becomes sustainable."

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The mayor of Shaoxing says he is "ready to swim" in the river that surrounds their city "to show that is not polluted." Qian Jianmin thus becomes the first government official to take up the challenge launched in February by residents of other cities in the coastal province of Zhejiang: 300 thousand Yuan offered to Communist leaders who had the courage to swim in the filthy water of the rivers of the area.

Qian's statement may just be a boast expressed while he is in Beijing as a delegate to the National People's Assembly, the national "Parliament" that meets once a year. Chen Jinbao, mayor of Wenzhou, participated at the press conference with Qian and said he was "pleased" by this provocation, which "shows the public's attention to environmental issues."

The governor of the province, Li Qiang, admitted that the environmental situation of Zhejiang is "not that great" and added that "it will take time before we can swim everywhere. This reminds us that we must not focus only on environmental data but we must also take into account the popular perception on the subject. "

Pollution, along with the corruption remains a major problem for the Chinese Communist Party. Policies launched in the past decade by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have not been successful in limiting the phenomenon, which threatens the health of the population and the environmental situation.

In fact, the government wants to maintain the pace of economic growth in recent years, but it can not stop the industrial overproduction, a leading cause excessive pollution. The new leader Xi Jinping - who takes office during this session of the NPA - has repeatedly acknowledged the problem but has not yet announced any strategy in this regard.

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