Ecological Civilisation – China’s “Eight Principles”


The concept of ecological civilisation serves as a guide for China’s fast-track endeavour to tackle the challenges facing its environment and ecosystems, respond to the public’s aspirations for a pleasant and eco-friendly living environment and promote sustainable development in a balanced manner.

It lends an ideological impetus to China’s active involvement in global ecological and environmental governance to become an important player, contributor and leader in the global endeavour to develop ecological civilisation in the new era.

The following is a summary of the eight guiding principles of China’s “Green Revolution“. It is an extract from the report China’s Progress Report on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2019)

Since the 18th Session of the CPC Central Committee, China has been reforming its ecological civilisation system in greater depth and developing its ecological civilisation at a faster pace, placing ecological civilisation on the agenda of its five-in-one national modernisation process (the other four dimensions being economic, political, cultural and social development).Xi Jinping’s notion of ecological civilisation is at the heart of the theory on the development of ecological civilisation, which provides conclusive answers to some important theoretical and practical questions, including why, what and how. This theory has as its pillar eight principles:

1 Civilisation cannot thrive without healthy ecosystems.

Ecological civilisation is essential to the sustainable development of the Chinese nation in perpetuity. What we do today will benefit future generations. The welfare of our people and the future of our nation hinge on what we do now on the ecological front.

2 Humankind and nature must coexist in harmony.

It is imperative to respect nature, bow to the laws of nature, protect nature and create a new pattern of modernisation characterised by balanced and harmonious development of both humankind and nature.

3 Clear waters and lush mountains are the real treasure troves.

The concept of green development should be put into practice to address the relationship between development and conservation in a balanced and appropriate manner and let this concept prevail in both our development model and our way of life.

4 A good ecological environment is the most inclusive livelihood solution.

Efforts should be focused on tackling major environmental issues that jeopardise public health and responding to the public’s ever-growing demand for a pleasant and eco-friendly environment.

5 Mountains, rivers, lakes, farmland, forests and vegetation are a community of life.

The ecological environment is an organic “unibody”. Protection of the ecological environment must be holistic, covering all dimensions, all domains and all processes and guided by the logic of systems engineering.

6 The ecological environment is to be protected with the most rigorous institutions and most disciplined rule of law.

A complete and systematic establishment of ecological civilisation should be put in place that has clearly defined rights and powers, benefits from broad-based participation and enforces restrictions tempered with incentives.

7 The nationwide “Beautiful China” campaign is a long-term commitment.

It is necessary to step up education and awareness raising on ecological civilisation, instil the ecological civilisation-related values and code of conduct in the hearts and minds of the people and translate the call to action into a real, conscious action of all the people.

8 Ecological civilisation is a global endeavour.

One must be cognisant that developing ecological civilisation is an integral part of the effort to build a community of shared future for humankind. This understanding underpins the global governance of ecological environment to build a cleaner and more beautiful world.

Source: Xinhua, ‘China’s Progress Report on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.