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08:40 Mar 28 2011

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Quake reconstruction makes fast progress
08:40, March 28, 2011  

Northwest China's Qinghai province will fulfill its plan to rebuild residences in its rural areas in the Yushu region that were destroyed by an earthquake in 2010, according to the provincial Party chief.

Qiang Wei, Party chief of Qinghai, also said the province will fulfill its plans to rebuild residences in urban places, as well as roads, power equipment and other infrastructures in Yushu by the end of 2011.

The province has finished plans and preliminary designs for 466 projects this year, he said. The reconstruction work will start next month.

"We will spend 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) to ensure this goes smoothly," he told China Daily.

From June to the end of 2010, Qinghai spent 5 billion yuan and completed 298 reconstruction projects.

The work was undertaken to repair damage caused by the earthquake that hit Yushu on last April 14 , registering a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale and leaving 2,698 people dead. Qiang conceded that it was a huge disaster but said the province is capable of building a new Yushu.

Qiang said the province's reconstruction and economic development plan will place a great priority on protecting the environment.

Qinghai lies at the source of China's three major rivers - the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang River and protecting the environment there is important not just for one specific location, but for the entire world.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period, Qinghai launched a campaign to protect the ecosystems in the nature preserve of the three rivers and a comprehensive-management project in the Qinghai Lake.

By the end of 2010, Qinghai had built 11 provincial nature preserves. Such areas contained 30.2 percent of the province's land, and forests took up 5.2 percent, Qiang said.

"We would rather slow our economic growth than sacrifice ecological protection," Qiang said.

In trying both to improve the livelihoods of Qinghai people and protect the environment, the province plans to avoid exploiting some mineral resources or encouraging industries that produce large amounts of pollution, Qiang said.

"The Qinghai people will not regret making such an economic sacrifice to kept the water clean in the three rivers," he said. "Protecting the three rivers is our unshirkable duty."

Qiang said a plan aimed at protecting the three rivers will be introduced in the near future.

From: China Daily

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