By Xi Jianrong (郄建荣), Legal Daily (法制日报), February 4, 2013
Xie Yong, the plaintiff in a lawsuit concerning illness caused by the burning of trash, has appealed to the State Council’s legal office, accusing the Ministry of Environmental Protection of illegally refusing to release information including its monitoring report. Xie, whose family lives near a trash burning plant, raised the suit after his son was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Although Xie determined that the pollution caused by the plant was a factor in his son’s illness, the MEP refused to release information about the plant on the grounds that it comprised an “industry secret.” Xie then raised a complaint, but the Beijing court ruled that the case did not fall into the scope of administrative lawsuits, and rejected the suit. Xie tried again, but has not received a verdict to date. He returned to the Ministry of Environmental Protection again, which confirmed only that it had violated regulations that state that Xie’s query should have received a response within thirty days. Finally, Xie has taken the case to the State Council, arguing that the MEP was not aware of its own regulations, which required a response within fifteen days, and was further skirting the issue of the illegality of delaying an information request in order to consult with the business industry.