Officials from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment cite many figures and claim that they have managed the environment more effectively in the past decade. But Chinese investigative reporters revealed that the Chinese regime’s devastating attack on the environment is terrifying, making it unlikely that the environment will be restored in the coming decades or even centuries.

Chinese state media reported that, on October 21, the news center of the 20th National Congress of the CCP held a press conference. where vice minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment Zhai Qing, a member of the group spoke with reporters.

Zhai claimed that, in the past 10 years, under the direction of “Xi Jinping and the ideology of ecological civilization,” they have adhered to the management of blue waters and green mountains, environmental protection, and ecology has undergone major changes, with unprecedented efficiency.

Official data is unreliable, protected areas are being exploited

In response to these claims Chinese investigative reporter Zhao Lanjian revealed to The Epoch Times on October 23 that all indicators relating to China’s air pollution, groundwater pollution, and soil pollution, are shocking. The anti-pollution public is suppressed, investigative journalists are persecuted, and only Environment Department officials have been flattering and deluding themselves.

Zhao said that the assessment criteria for environmental protection should first come from the establishment of an evaluation system by NGOs, who could objectively assess some environmental protection results related to people’s lives. When Zhai exaggerated how well his environmental management was, the press knew that as all the questions had been prepared in advance, the data was unreliable.

In addition, the CCP’s management and protection of the environment along with the economic development of the CCP also have many contradictions.

Zhao gave an example. Some natural landscapes such as Zhangjiajie or the protected Changbai Mountain were actually exploited for commercial economic models.

Zhao said, “I visited Changbai Mountain 4 times, the earliest was in 1994 and again in 2015, and found that the reserve has been looted and artificially developed, and all the scenic spots in China are facing the same problem.”

He said, “I have seen in eco-parks in many countries like the US and Chile, they are not allowed to build roads, nor are they allowed to explore and develop commercial tourism. However, China sets a model, an economic model for tourism that comes first and income from tickets is a top priority.”

The Epoch Times reported that Zhao spent 10 years investigating the ecological environment of several places along the Yangtze river, the Yellow River, Qinghai, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia.

When he compares some eco-environment or tourism environment in the country with some international countries, he “feels downhearted.”

Zhao said that many grasslands in Qinghai and Tibet are enclosed by fences, which not only affects migration, but animals can’t hunt. The natural ecological chain is broken.

There have also constructed highways and railways. While on the one hand, it can bring about so-called economic development of a certain region, however, both energy and economic models make ecological chains fragile, and Qinghai and Tibet are both ecologically fragile links.

Desertification of Sanjiangyuan area

In 2018, Zhao went to various areas of Sanjiangyuan National Park to investigate the park’s natural habitat and found that there was a lot of desert. When comparing with the earlier maps, he discovered that the desert formed 30 years ago when there were still some swamps.

Zhao said the existence of this desert proves that at least the ecological environment of the Sanjiangyuan area has gone through unimaginable changes. He also asked a number of experts, and they also believe that desertification in the upstream Sanjiangyuan is in fact one of the factors causing water shortages in Shanghai and the whole Yangtze river system.

According to information from Baidu, Sanjiangyuan is located on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai Province. This is where the three main river systems the Yangtze river, Yellow River, and Mekong form. It is known as the “Water Tower of China” and plays an important role in its ecological status and national economic development.

In August 2016, when Xi visited Qinghai, he emphasized that the ecological status of the region is very important and unique, as it is responsible for protecting the watershed of Sanjiangyuan and the “Chinese Water Tower.”

Zhao said that people can see the deterioration of China’s environment today, such as the Yangtze and Yellow River systems drying up. A number of factors are causing environmental change—excessive dam construction, unequal distribution of water flows, and uneven distribution of benefits.

Zhao said, “Such a systematic lack of water will also affect the development of agriculture, livestock, and fisheries along the river. Therefore, no matter how beautiful the government’s slogans on these environmental issues are, everyone can see droughts in Poyang Lake, the Yangtze and many different water systems drying up.”

The environment is seriously polluted; the investigative reporter is punished

On October 16, Xi report to the congress stated that he is “strongly promoting the prevention and control of environmental pollution, and further reinforcing the protection and ecological management of important rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.”

Zhao thinks that the issues of environmental and ecological protection are extremely urgent, and the CCP can’t help but talk about it. The environment has already changed, in fact the environment has already deteriorated to a certain extent. The development model of society is on the verge of crisis.

According to RFA, Zhao’s 2014 report on the pollution of the Tengger desert in the Inner Mongolia was startling. Local ranchers point out that sewage ponds have appeared in the desert hinterland and local businesses have discharged untreated wastewater into the sewage ponds.

After Zhao’s 2018 interview about the pollution of the Tengger Desert, his 2014 article and photos online were deleted.

Zhao Lanjian told The Epoch Times, “China’s media has been tightened since 2014, and investigative reporters have been brutally suppressed. Some local newspapers have also stopped publishing and even a number of local city committee newspapers are insolvent or have been suspended from publication.”

Not only have investigative reporters been suppressed, but collective anti-pollution cases have also been suppressed to the point of almost disappearing in recent years.

In 2017, NTD reported that, in order to make political achievements, various high-pollution projects, known by the people as an “ultimate death penalty” were launched in various regions. These projects generate waste and wastewater, which not only pollute water sources and land, but also endanger humans.

Groundwater in 90% of Chinese cities is polluted due to businesses discharging wastewater deep underground. A public welfare worker made a “Map of Cancer Villages in China.” Due to pollution, thousands of cancer villages have cropped up across the country.

CCTV once reported that in Langfang City, Hebei Province, Jinghai District, Tianjin and other places, people kept finding super industrial sewage pits. People living near the sewage pit are prone to cancer, the trees die if they are watered from the sewage pit, and the bad smell in the air never goes away, especially in the summer.

At the same time, large-scale protests by the tens of thousands against pollution have taken place in different parts of China.

In September 2022, the newspaper “Toutiao” reported that a total of 824.36 million yuan ($113.66 million) had been invested in restoring the environmental in the Tengger Desert, and the extent of groundwater contamination has been effectively controlled.

Local authorities make fake green mountains

Zhao pointed out, “After Xi Jinping initiated the green mountains and clear water, the local government was unable to restore the green mountains. As a result, layers of green trees like plastic have been scattered from the top to the foot of the mountain, and the bare mountain becomes a green mountain, and in many other places, a green mountain is sprayed with ink and green paint.

According to The Epoch Times, there are also some cities that require each household to spend between 6,000 and 7,000 yuan ($827 and $965) to plant artificial trees and artificial flowers on the street. These are consequences caused by superficial efforts from officials in many places. Zhao said, “The destruction of the entire Chinese environment, tourism resources, and ecological resources may not be restored in the next few decades, or even hundreds of years.”

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