China’s top climate change negotiator Xie Zhenhua to receive HK$20 million Hong Kong prize

Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief negotiator at the Paris Agreement, will receive the Lui Che Woo Prize for his efforts to tackle global climate change

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 10:50pm

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China’s top climate change negotiator will be given a HK$20 million Hong Kong prize for his contributions to global civilisation.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief negotiator at the Paris Agreement, UN climate change conferences, and the former head of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration, will be presented one of the awards under the Lui Che Woo Prize for his efforts to tackle climate change.

“We honour his achievements in preventing climate change and thus ensuring a sustainable future not only in China but also globally”, said prize recommendation committee chairman Professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee.

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The prize, set up by property tycoon and casino owner Lui Chee-woo in 2015, honours individuals or organisations with outstanding achievements in three categories – sustainable development of the world, betterment of the welfare of mankind and promotion of positive life attitude each year.

Professor Lau said Xie has led China in energy conservation, pollutant emission reduction and land use since 1993, when he became head of the mainland’s environmental protection agency.

In November 2016, Xie openly criticised US president Donald Trump for backing out of the Paris global climate change pact.

“No matter leaders from which country, they need to be in line with global development trends. People would not support their leader when he goes against the trend. Country’s progress would be affected as a result,” said Xie, when answering a reporter’s question on Trump policy on global warming last year.

Xie also set up China’s national carbon trading scheme, which was launched this year and has become the biggest market globally.

“I was very honoured,” Xie said, “The prize will drive us to achieve results in the future.”

Awards for the other two categories will go to the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) and Landesa, a non-governmental organisation based in Seattle, which has helped to secure land rights for 120 million poor rural families in 50 countries since 1967.

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IPC has offered hope to people with disabilities and changed society’s long-held biases towards them, the prize committee said. The IPC faced funding cuts in the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics.

IPC president Philip Craven said they were “ecstatic” to be “recognised by such a prominent award and group of people who select it”.

Landesa president Chris Jochnick said it was “unexpected and tremendously exciting” to learn about the award: “[We now have] the resources, connections and legitimacy to expand our network ... and the flexibility and opportunity to really do the work we think is important to raising living standards for the worlds poorest.”

The three winners will be each awarded a certificate, trophy and cash prizes of HK$20 million (US$2.6 million). The prize presentation ceremony will be held in October 3.