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In depth: China's scenic Yunnan battles to protect its lakes

Officials face dilemma of balancing environmental protection, economic growth

The former site of a real estate development project is seen in this November 2021 photo. (Photo by Xiang Kai/Caixin) 

On a sunny November day, Zhang Mei sat on a terrace on Changyao Mountain in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province in southwest China.

At the foot of the mountain lies a protected segment of Dianchi Lake, where newly planted pine trees are still too small to cast shadows on the yellow-brown soil.

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