A news briefing was held by the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of China on March 31st, announcing the second set of ten administrative cases related to environmental protection. As explained by He Xiaorong, the president of the administrative tribunal of the Supreme Court, the cases announced this year cover a wide range of current environmental and social problems.
The environmental cases include ones related to industrial supervision, like the construction of high-speed railways, steel processing and concrete production, as well as ones related to issues which directly influence citizens’ lives, such as noise, water and electromagnetic pollution. The social cases concern subjects like the duties of the government in conducting environmental impact reviews (环境影响评估), pollutant discharge licensing (排污许可), the disclosure of environmental information (环境信息公开) and the protection of citizens’ property rights, rights to knowledge, and rights to management.
The news briefing confirmed the country’s progress in environmental judicature. By attempting to hear administrative cases concerning the environment, the people’s court at different levels is helping to better implement the new Administrative Litigation Law (行政诉讼法) and the reform of related regulations. But challenges still exist, added He Xiaorong. Slack law enforcement, insufficient shouldering of responsibilities and sloppy supervision could be observed in the behavior of some departments. The court announced the ten cases in the hope of promoting environmental awareness in the society and boosting the rule of law in environmental cases.