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Winners unveiled: Chinese children's painting competition

Nairobi, 3 August 2010 - As the world combats climate change and pollution, how do Chinese Children view the future of the environment?

A staggering 2.6 million Chinese schoolchildren have taken part in a painting contest run by the Luo Hong Environmental Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). After sifting through huge piles of pictures, the judges have finally chosen twenty beautiful and striking images as the winning entries.

The young artists will arrive in Nairobi tomorrow for a special week of activities and attend an award's ceremony on 9 August.

The theme of this year's competition was "Biodiversity: Nature in Action" and the young artists submitted an eclectic range of drawings, showing an impressive artistic flair far beyond their tender age.

Whether it's a hapless giraffe struggling to find food above a cloud of smog, a colourful criticism of the fur trade or a six-year-old's vision of a green utopia, the pictures are a compelling insight into the concerns of China's children for their environment - and their suggestions for how to make things better.

The contest was organized by Luo Hong - one of China's best known entrepreneurs and a UNEP Climate Hero. Mr. Luo, the founder of the country's biggest cake bakery chain as well as a leading environmental photographer, says he started the contest to make China's children more aware of their environment. "I think our small friends are painting to voice their love of the environment and their commitment to protect our planet", said Mr. Luo.

This year, the third time that the competition has been held, saw all previous records broken, with over 300,000 more children taking part than in 2008-09. The huge scale of the competition means that it is now considered by UNEP to be the world's largest environmental protection education activity, involving the largest number of participants.

The twenty winners of the contest, along with ten teachers and Luo Hong, will travel to UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, for an awards ceremony on 9 August 2010. The trip to Kenya will also include visits to some the country's best-known spots for observing wild animals. The children will visit Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara, where they should catch sight of lions, cheetahs, elephants and rhinos; providing inspiration, no doubt, for many more paintings during their stay in Kenya.

All the winning pictures can be viewed in the 'Photo Galleries' section of the official UNEP Facebook page at: http://facebook.unep.org or via the UNEP Flickr account at http://tinyurl.com/29vqtx9

'Mothers and Children' by 12-year-old Kexin Zhou; one of twenty winning entries in this year's Chinese Children's Painting Competition



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