- What elements of traditional Chinese culture are reflected in the country’s approach to sustainability and climate efforts?- Just like any other country, China wants to become modern. It makes everybody happy in the beginning, but when social or economic problems have appeared, people started to reflect on situation. The term ’sustainability’ appeared. Like Hungarians, Chinese people also deeply care about their children and their future. Long-term planning is part of our traditional way of thinking. If you have some money, you spend half of it and keep the other half. Because you think about your children, about the future.
- When it comes to efforts to fight climate change and to support sustainability, the European Union speaks a lot about it, but we can't say that too much is actually happening. In the meantime, China is not too loud about its efforts, but China is leading the way. What do you think explains this difference in attitude?
- Chinese people trust their government while Western people don’t. In China, political leaders go to the countryside, to the workers, talk to the people, ask them about their problems. But in the US, the president is rather, for example, playing golf. In China people listen because they know the government cares about them, they also devote support to the government, there is mutual support. That's why China can take action very quickly.
- What do you think are the biggest results of China's sustainability policy?
- The biggest result is that the term ecological civilisation is written into the party's constitution, as well as China's constitution. That means no matter who leader becomes the leader, the new leader also will follow this principle.
- How do you think the Belt and Road Initiative and especially the Green Silk Road are helping these efforts?
- They have contributed a lot, because poverty eradication is a key issue in developing countries. Even if people in traditional societies recognise the importance of ecological civilisation and sustainability, if they have nothing to eat, if they need money, they will - metaphorically speaking - cut down the trees.
The author is managing editor at Eurasia