Photo taken on Sept. 22, 2017 shows the autumn scenery of the Wolong River in the Kanas scenic area, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)
China Tuesday unveiled the overall plan for establishing its new national park system.
"This marks the completion of the top-level design of the national park system, and the beginning of the next stage of substantial construction" said Wang Yi, deputy head of the Institute of Science and Development at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
By 2020, the country will finish pilot programs for establishing national parks, according to the plan.
The country's national parks will follow the principle of "ecological protection first", the plan said.
The national parks will be authorized by the central government and implemented by government-led management.
Aiming mainly to protect China's large natural ecosystems, the national parks will be set up in specific land, marine and ocean areas to achieve a combination of ecological protection and sustainable development.
The country has set up 10 pilot programs for the national park system, covering topics including the Sanjiangyuan (the source of China's three major rivers), giant panda habitats and the Great Wall.
National parks are one of the most important types of protected natural areas and will be managed according to a red line system.
China has ordered all its provinces and regions to establish an ecological "red line" that will declare designated regions under mandatory and rigorous protection.
The overall plan for establishing a national park system was jointly published by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.