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Chp 29, Establishing links with the Mainland – Forty years champion for the environment

Establishing links with the Mainland

In January 1979, Tang Wai Kong, President of YEAG, sent a letter to Qu Geping, head of the State Council’s Office of Environmental Protection 國務院環境保護領導小組 seeking cooperation between CA and the Mainland. YEAG received a reply from Mr Qu dated 6 February welcoming further contacts. In the summer of 1979, seven YEAG members went on a month-long trip to the Mainland and whilst in Beijing, they sought an audience with Mr Qu and were graciously received on 25 June, marking the first contact between CA and the Mainland’s authorities on the environment. The seven YEAG members were Simon Yick, Betty Ho, Chan Shu Keung, Dick Yu, Grace Lai, Magdalene Chan and WK Chan.

What followed were intermittent contacts between the two sides, including a brief gathering during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In June 1993, on the occasion of the World Environment Day, CA organized another formal delegation to Beijing. Led by Vice Chairman Ng Cho Nam, the delegates included Betty Ho, WK Chan, Peggy Poon, Hung Wing Tat, Stephen Chan, Gordon Ng and Law Wai Yan. Before joining a tree planting ceremony on the WED (5 June), they called on Mr Chen Juo’er of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on 2 June to exchange views on the role of Hong Kong NGO’s in China, Hong Kong’s participation in international forums, cross-border environmental issues, as well as major infrastructure projects like the new airport and the sewage strategy. On 3 June, the delegation met with Professor Qu Geping, then as Director of the National Environmental Protection Agency to discuss, among other things, the Mainland’s work on Agenda 21. The group also called on youth and academic bodies in Beijing. The delegation came back to Hong Kong and held a press conference on 6 June reporting on the visit. The group also took the opportunity to criticize the Hong Kong government for falling behind the Mainland in developing Hong Kong’s Agenda 21. As a result of the visit, CA decided to establish a China Fund for conservation work in the Mainland, the first project being to provide financial support to the Nature 大自然 magazine, which had 25,000 readers in the Mainland.

CA’s projects in China were mostly conservation and education oriented, rather than focusing on policy or current affairs. An example of a major project was a three-year “Green Gift to our Beloved Country” programme starting in 1998, involving 11 nature conservation and afforestation projects covering over 11,000 ha of land in 5 provinces in the Mainland.


May 5, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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