Chinese cities are among the most polluted in the world
Media criticise the West for not “assuming its responsibilities” on climate change, amid a major UN meeting on the issue
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli told a UN summit on Tuesday that Beijing wanted emissions to peak as soon as possible, without giving a timescale.
Speaking at the same forum, US President Barack Obama said climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and the US and China had a responsibility to lead other nations.
Commenting on a Global Carbon Project report showing that China’s per capita carbon emissions have surpassed those of the European Union, the China Daily notes that the report “does not tell the whole story”.
“China and the EU cannot be compared in such a simple way, given their different stages of development and economic situation,” Zou Ji, a professor at the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, tells the paper.
According to him, the EU has produced more cumulative emissions per capita than China since the industrial revolution.
Echoing similar views, Xinhua news agency publishes several commentaries that criticise the West for “hyping up” China’s status as the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.
“The climate peril the human race is facing right now is not just an outcome of the industrial growth of developing countries, most of which only started several decades ago,” it argues.
The agency adds that along with globalisation, developed countries are also transferring more carbon emissions to the developing world by “shifting their high energy consuming and polluting industries”.
“It is highly advisable for those developed countries to stop pointing fingers at China and other developing countries, and start to realistically assume their due and unshakable responsibilities,” says the article.
In another commentary, Xinhua blames the West for “creating trouble” in order to obstruct the progress of negotiations and warns Western countries not to engage in “climate hegemony”.
“The West has enthusiastically pointed a finger at developing countries including China, but has totally ignored its promises and responsibilities… Some Western countries should stop acting as a climate hegemony but co-operate with developing countries to find a solution,” it says.
As students continue to hold pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, mainland papers discuss the concept of “consultative democracy” after President Xi Jinping highlighted it as a “unique way to foster consensus among people”.
Mr Xi made the remark on Sunday during a meeting to mark the 65th anniversary of the national political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), state media report.
He pointed out that “democracy is not a decoration” and promised that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government would consult as many people as possible on as many issues as possible.
“What Mr Xi means is China’s CPPCC, as the political advisory body, plays the role of providing political advice for the government to make key policies and its people’s congress, as the legislative body, plays the role of a watchdog over the government,” notes the English-language China Daily.
Stating that there are no perfect democratic institutions, the daily adds that the national legislature, China’s People’s Congress, and CPPCC institutions “are the choice the Chinese people have made” and that the institutions “will constantly improve and better serve the people’s need for democracy and political freedom”.
The People’s Daily agrees by saying that “consultative democracy is a form of democracy created by the people of China”.
“In a socialist country with a huge population and a vast territory like ours, the governing bodies hold wide discussions with the people internally, brainstorm for ideas, seek unity of opinion and reach a consensus… This reflects the fact that the people are the masters of the country,” says the paper.
And finally, some media outlets voice support for a court’s decision to sentence a prominent Uighur scholar, Ilham Tohti, to life imprisonment, a move strongly condemned by rights groups and the US.
An article in the Chinese edition of the Global Times hails the court’s decision, saying that Mr Tohti “deserves it”.
Describing the outcome as “another significant achievement” in the fight against terror, the commentary states that the court proceeded in a “clear and standardised manner”, and had protected the rights of both the defendant and the prosecutor.
“Ilham Tohti is a preacher and a teacher. He should have a clear understanding of his responsibility but what he did goes not only against the morality of the teaching profession but is also a serious violation of the law,” says the paper. It accuses the scholar of writing articles that were intended to break up the country.