03/07/2015, 00.00
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NPC: Beijing promises to protect the environment, but censors pollution documentaries

Air, water and soil pollution dominated the first day of the National Peoples’ Congress. Xi Jinping will “punish with an iron hand" those breaking environmental laws. But authorities also block an online documentary (Under the dome) on the toxic blanket that cloaks China’s skies.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The environmental problems that have accompanied China's development and government efforts to resolve them dominated the first day of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), which opened yesterday in Beijing.

Senior officials of the party are engaged in promoting a campaign to reassure citizens, increasingly concerned about air, water and soil pollution. The issue threatens to stall the growth of the Chinese giant, but even more, damage the health of its inhabitants, especially in big cities like Beijing (pictured).

Despite superficial proclamations, Chinese authorities censor all online news and videos that have denounced the growing level of environmental pollution. For example they recently removed a documentary on air pollution, which had gone viral among internet users in the country. According to the documentary director, the government ordered its removal from all websites.

Titled "Under the Dome", published on the net on 28 February, since yesterday is inaccessible; those seeking to open the files see an error message or are unable to play the movie. Made by Chai Jing, a former journalist of Chinese state television, it investigates the blanket of toxic smog which, with increasing regularity, cloaks the skies of China.

Returning to the annual NPC meeting, the Chinese president Xi Jinping promised he would "punish, with an iron hand, anyone violators who destroy the ecology or the environment, without exception." Previously Premier Li Keqiang had intervened, who assured that the government intends to cut the main pollutants and improve energy efficiency.

The leadership in Beijing have promised to cut coal consumption by about 160 million tons within the next five years; the vice-mayor of the capital has added that it will close at least 300 factories in the area and about 200 thousand highly polluting vehicles will be scrapped.

However, despite these promises, the skies over Beijing remain wrapped in a blanket of smog and fog; even during the Congress as if to remind delegates how environmental issues are really a key problem to be solved, while China remains the world's biggest polluter.


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