Chen Jining made his first public appearance at a press conference yesterday since taking over in his new position as China’s Minister of Environmental Protection.
Just before the conference, a documentary about China’s air pollution, made by Chai Jing, had provoked national discussion after going viral online [see here for CDB’s article]. The newly appointed minister applauded the documentary during the conference, saying that he has already sent a message to the producer Chai Jing to thank her for raising people’s awareness of environmental issues.
Chen also vowed to strengthen enforcement of the country’s environmental laws. He said that the laws hadn’t been implemented properly in the past, and that even though the new environmental regulations are an improvement, they still require vigorous enforcement of the law by the government to ensure the future protection of the country’s environment. Chen Jining also said the Ministry of Environmental Protection welcomes criticism from the public and plans to be open to the public through online media because pubic monitoring and participation is essential to the government’s environmental protection work.