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Pollution

China rewards 'clean' regions, punishes 'dirty' communities

The Chinese government has decided to increase funding for regions and communities which are making progress in cutting harmful greenhouse emissions. And it will punish laggards doing nothing against pollution.

China's State Council announced it would boost funding to regions doing well in reining in air pollution, reflecting Beijing's drive to make local governments step up the fight against smog.

Combating widespread pollution that causes hundreds of lives to end prematurely has become a priority of China’s Cabinet. But directives to reduce pollution have long been ignored by some local leaders who remain focused only on growing their regional economies.

Beijing said it would now rate provincial governments in one of four categories, ranging from "excellent" to "sub-standard", based on whether air pollution targets are met.

Carrot-and-stick approach

Regions that fail to cut emissions will not only get less funding, but will also face disciplinary action. Officials faking environmental data will be punished and be confronted with criminal charges.

China to fight smog problem

The decision comes amid China's efforts to turn away from dependence on energy-intensive and polluting economic growth.

Earlier in the week, the Council of Ministers said it would pull six million high-emissions vehicles off the road by the end of the current year. There were 137 million cars in the country at the end of 2013, out of a total of 240 million vehicles of all kinds.

hg/nz (Reuters, dpa)

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