Zone of Peace
China sees little optimism in anti-desert fight
(Reuters; Xinhua) Chinese Deputy Forestry Minister Zhu Lieke admitted that the fightagainst desertification in the western regions of the PRC, including vasttractsof the Tibetan Plateau, was so far largely unsuccessful. Speaking at a newsconference at the end of an international desertification conferenceco-hostedby the United Nations, Zhu said the Chinese government spent billions ofdollarsplanting trees to hold back the spread of the sands, but "in some areas whichhave been treated, vegetation has only just started to grow back and is veryunstable". "If there is no effective solution in certain areas, thedeserts willonly keep spreading. In desert areas, there is a problem that damagecontinuesat the same time as work goes on to turn back the sands", he added. Zhuoutlinedno new measures or funding to fight deserts, but re-affirmed an earliergovernment goal of bringing the problem "fundamentally under control" by2010.
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