From Daily Telegraph, Jan 2013:

ProfessorQuGeping–whobecamethefirstdirectorof China'senvironmental protection agency in 1987 – told Hong Kong's South China Morning Post that greater accountability was needed for Beijing to win its war on pollution.

"I've always felt ill at ease whenever I was recognised for my contribution to China's environmental protection, because the country now faces so many environmental problems," Prof Qu said. "But looking back, there was not much more I could have achieved as an individual. Without actions from the whole government and without changing the system, nothing could be done.

"I would not call the past 40 years' efforts of environmental protection a total failure," added Prof. Qu, who is now 83 and has received a number of prizes for his work. "But I have to admit that governments have done far from enough to rein in the wild pursuit of economic growth and failed to avoid some of the worst pollution scenarios we, as policymakers, had predicted."

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Prof. Qu blamed a lack of government accountability for China's current environmental predicament.

Asked why Beijing's attempts to reconcile rapid economic growth with environmental protection had not been effective, Prof Qu replied: "I think it is because there was no supervision of governments." "It is because the power is still above the law."