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Build an Eco-Civilization for Sustainable Development

Source: Xi Jinping The Governance of China IV Updated: 2023-09-04

Build an Eco-Civilization for Sustainable Development*

April 10, 2020

We must ensure harmony between humanity and nature.

I have consistently emphasized that humanity and nature form a community of life. As human beings, we must respect nature, follow its ways, and protect it. Our Covid-19 response has made us more keenly aware that building an eco-civilization is vital to our nation’s sustainable development, and our plan of economic and social progress must be based on harmony between humanity and nature.

Engels made it clear long ago: “Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us.” Since the First Industrial Revolution, people have continuously improved their ability to exploit nature, but overdevelopment has led to a reduction in biodiversity, and forced wild animals to migrate, increasing transmission of the pathogens they carry as they do so. Since the beginning of this century, humans have suffered from a marked increase in the incidence of new infectious diseases worldwide, including SARS, avian influenza, MERS, Ebola, and now Covid-19. Only by maintaining a balance between humanity and nature and in our ecosystems can we protect human health. We must understand fully how humanity and nature form a community of life and step up efforts on all fronts to build an eco-civilization. We must always prioritize eco-environmental progress.

More and more human activities are pushing at the boundaries of ecosystems and testing their limits. We must defend these boundaries, both tangible and intangible, to ensure harmony between humanity and nature. We need to improve planning regarding our territorial space, implement our functional zoning strategy, and draw up red lines for ecological conservation. We should accelerate efforts to establish a system of nature reserves, improve biodiversity protection networks, and set reasonable spatial limits for economic and social activities.


* Part of the speech at the seventh meeting of the Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs under the CPC Central Committee.

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)