I Introduction

With the economy booming and the scale of industrialisation in the past four decades, environmental issues have become of serious concern to the general public and the government. This has particularly been the case since 2012, as Beijing and northern China have been frequently threatened by heavy smog.

The government has committed to control and reduce pollution, and combat climate change. The State Council has issued the 13th Five-Year Plan for Protecting the Eco-System and Environment,2 setting out the goals and plans for environmental protection from 2016–2020. The latest national congress of the ruling party in October 2017 called for a reform to the environment governance, in order to build a ‘beautiful China’. Recent efforts include introducing new legislation and materially amending the existing laws, launching an environmental law enforcement campaign. This includes adding environmental protection into the performance evaluation of government officials, and taking other measures and initiatives, for example, lowering the share of coal, shutting down heavy-pollution factories and encouraging the use of electric cars.

With respect to climate change, China has acceded to the Paris Agreement and is actively involved in global climate governance. China is also making mitigation, adaptation and capacity building efforts domestically, with climate change legislation under discussion for several years, and a national carbon market (also consolidating the seven existing pilot markets) expected in 2018.

II Legislative framework

Three fundamental policies relating to environmental protection were established in the 1980s:

  • a prevention first, with treatment and control integrated;
  • b whoever pollutes the environment should be responsible for treatment; and
  • c environment management should be strengthened.

The Environmental Protection Law of the PRC (EPL), the primary source of law for environmental protection, was significantly amended in 2014, and is known as the ‘strictest environmental protection law in history’ in China. Article 1 of the EPL provides that:

[t]he Law has been formulated for purposes of protecting and improving the environment, preventing and controlling pollution and other public hazards, safeguarding public health, advancing ecological progress, and facilitating the sustainable development of economy and society.

The key revisions of the EPL in 2014 included enhancing enterprises’ responsibilities for environmental pollution prevention, aggravating the punishment for enterprises’ violation of environmental law and establishing a regime of public interest lawsuits for environment matters. The EPL also implemented a mechanism imposing a consecutive administrative penalty aggregated on a daily basis on enterprises that fail to make rectifications based on the orders of relevant authorities, and subjecting persons in charge of such enterprises to severe personal administrative and even criminal liabilities.

Following the revision of the EPL, a wide range of laws and regulations in other vital areas were also amended, including the Law on Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution (effective from 1 January 2016), the Environmental Impact Assessment Law (effective from 1 September 2016), the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Waste (effective from 7 November 2016), the Marine Environmental Protection Law (effective from 1 March 2017) and the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (effective from 1 January 2018). Other miscellaneous laws include the Law on the Prevention and of Environment Noise Pollution, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution, law in relation to toxic and harmful substance control, etc. Requirements and standards for carrying out the above-mentioned laws are detailed in the pertinent regulations or national standards. The related administrative and judicial authorities also issued a series of instruments to support the enforcement of these laws.

China has ratified or joined a great number of treaties including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, the Paris Agreement, and a number of bilateral treaties.

III The regulators

A department of the State Council, the Minister of Environmental Protection (MEP), is the central authority in enforcing environment and climate change laws and regulations in China. The MEP is responsible for:

  • a establishing a basic system for environmental protection;
  • b the overall coordination, supervision and administration of major environmental problems;
  • c attaining national pollution reduction targets;
  • d contributing opinions on various environment-related issues;
  • e taking precautionary measures against pollution at the source and controlling environmental pollution and environmental damages;
  • f supervision and administration of prevention and control of environmental pollution;
  • g guiding, coordinating and overseeing ecological conservation efforts;
  • h supervision and administration of nuclear safety and radiation safety;
  • i environmental monitoring and information release;
  • j carrying out environmental protection science and technology activities;
  • k conducting international cooperation and communications on environmental protection;
  • l organising, guiding and coordinating the environmental communications and educational activities; and
  • m undertaking other tasks assigned by the State Council.3

Provincial, prefectural and county governments have their own departments of environmental protection that work under the supervision of the MEP.

That said, other departments are taking responsibility for environmental protection in matters within their jurisdiction. The State Oceanic Administration is responsible for maritime eco-system and environment protection; the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Land Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and the Administration of Forestry have authorities and duties in environmental protection related to water resources, land and mining resources, agriculture and forestry.

These agencies may issue administrative licences, compel preventive or remedial measures and impose administrative penalties in their law enforcement, if such authority is empowered to them by laws and regulations. Generally speaking, administrative decisions rendered by the regulatory authorities might be challenged before the people’s courts, which decide whether the decision (and the underlying procedure leading to the decision) is legitimate or not, but generally should not interfere with the exercise of discretionary power of the agency.

The Ministry of Public Safety and its local bureaus are responsible for the investigation of environment-related crimes, and the people’s procuratorates (state organs of legal supervision) are responsible for the prosecution of crimes.

Pollution of the environment, as a tortious act, may also give rise to civil liabilities that may be referred to the courts. Traditionally, ratio decidendi in prior court judgments do not have stare decisis (though, in practice, they are usually followed by the same court or lower courts for judicial conformity). But the newly implemented ‘Guiding Cases’ system allows the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) to publish guiding cases with binding authority over the courts in order to unify the application of laws in judicial practice. There is no judicial review of the laws and regulations made by the legislature or the administrative branch.

IV Enforcement

i Administrative actions and proceedings

After the amendment of the EPL in 2015, the supervisory and enforcement force for environmental protection has been greatly reinforced.

The provincial, prefecture, and county environmental protection authorities (EPAs) are responsible for investigation and enforcement on environmental protection-related matters within the region according to the EPL. A monitoring mechanism of environmental protection has been formed, with both the government and the Communist Party of China (CPC) in charge. The General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the Guiding Opinions Regarding Pilot Work on Reform of Vertical Management System for Monitoring Enforcement of Environmental Protection Institutions under Provincial Level, in order to curb the influence of regionalism and short-sighted economic development for effective environment protection.4 The focus of environment law enforcement is moving down to the local level. The local EPAs are empowered to conduct on-site inspection and are equipped with the necessary powers and facilities.

If an EPA finds violations, it could take administrative coercive measures and impose administrative penalties against the offenders according to the EPL, the Administrative Penalties Law, the Administrative Coercion Law and other relevant laws and regulations. Commonly imposed penalties contain fines, consecutive penalty aggregated on a daily basis, restoration, seizure and detention of the facilities and equipment, restricting operation and suspending production for renovation.5 Continuing ‘illegal discharge of pollutants’ will be subject to consecutive daily fines, the amount of which is decided based on the actual needs.6 The concept of ‘control targets for the total emission volume of major pollutants’ was adopted in the EPL for the first time to specify the consequences corresponding to excessive emissions, where the EPAs are empowered to directly order the offending enterprises to restrict or even stop the operation and production for rectification.7 Moreover, local EPAs may transfer the case to public security bureaus and impose a detention on the persons directly in charge of the offender entity along with other persons directly responsible for the pollution under certain circumstances listed in Article 63 of the EPL.

In 2017, a rigid law enforcement campaign for environment protection was launched by the MEP and other authorities, and various factories that failed to comply with the law were shut down.

According to the Administrative Review Law, private citizens or entities may challenge the administrative acts taken by administrative organs before relevant governments or administrative agencies to contest such administrative act.8 When refusing to accept a specific administrative act taken by a department of the government at or above the county level, the applicant may choose to apply to the government at the same level or to the same department at a higher level for administrative review.9

Private citizens or entities may also bring administrative actions before competent courts against such administrative organs to contest administrative decisions or acts.10 In most circumstances, district courts have jurisdiction over the administrative lawsuits of first instance.11 Defendants shall be the administrative organs that rendered the administrative decisions or conducted the administrative act (including action, non-action or omission), or in cases with a prior administrative review, the review organ, depending on the outcome of the review.12

ii Criminal investigation and prosecution

With regard to the criminal aspect, public security bureaus take charge of criminal investigations, usually based on cases transferred to them by the environmental protection authorities, and people’s procuratorates prosecute individuals and entities who committed crimes in relation to the environment.

The Criminal Law lists crimes that natural persons, either in their individual capacity or as persons directly responsible for behaviours of entities, might be prosecuted for:

  • a impairing the protection of environment and resources;13
  • b spreading poisonous or radioactive substances;14
  • c smuggling waste;15
  • d illegally dumping, piling up or treating solid wastes from abroad within the territory of China16;
  • e importing solid wastes without permission;17 and
  • f dereliction of duty crime in environment administration.18

Article 346 of the Criminal Law also provides that an entity that commits the above-mentioned crimes shall be fined.

iii Private civil actions

Victims may bring tort action against environmental tortfeasors in order to seek civil remedy directly. Where any damage is caused by environmental pollution or ecological damage, the relevant persons shall bear tortious liability under the relevant provisions of the Tort Liability Law.19

In environment-related tort lawsuits, strict liability applies, and the burden of proof for causation, or the lack of causation, is shifted to the accused tortfeasor,20 and the plaintiff only needs to prove tortious conduct and damages to establish a prima facie case. The most commonly used defences under the Tort Liability Law are force majeure, contributory liability21 and third-party liability.22

Remedies available in civil actions include monetary damages, and injunctions ranging from cessation of infringement, removal of obstruction, elimination of danger and restoration to the original state, to apology.23

The statute of limitation for bringing civil actions in relation to environmental pollution is three years, starting from the time when the plaintiff is aware or should be aware of the harm.24

The SPC released a guiding case, Deng Shiying v. Guangxi Yongkai Sweet Wrappers Co, Ltd, in which the plaintiff, a fisherman, sued six enterprises for seawater pollution. The trial court held that, as the plaintiff had established in the prima facie case against three of the six defendants, they had discharged pollutants that might cause death of fish, and that the pollutant had reached the relevant water area. However, the defendants failed to prove the non-existence of the causation, and were thus liable. Although the discharge of the defendants conformed to national and local standards, they could not be exempted as strict liability applies in environment-related tort lawsuits. Nevertheless, because there were other sources of pollution, such as heavy rainfall, the defendants shall only bear 25 per cent of the responsibilities collectively. As it was not possible to define the proportional liability of each defendant, they shall bear the liability equally and severally. The appeal court upheld the trial court’s ruling and rendered the final decision.25

iv Public interest civil actions

Moreover, The EPL established the environmental public interest lawsuit regime, which entitles competent social organisations to bring environmental public interest lawsuits for tortious behaviours that pollute the environment and harm the public interest, even though they would not have standing for a private civil action. Article 58 of the EPL provides the conditions for a social organisation to bring public interest lawsuits:

  • a the social organisation is registered in the civil administrative departments of the people’s government at the city (divided into districts) level or above in accordance with the law; and
  • b the social organisation has been specially engaged in public environmental protection activities over consecutive five years, without record of any violation of laws.

Social organisations with national influence such as the China Environmental Protection Federation and Friends of Nature, as well as numerous local environmental protection associations, have brought a number of environmental public interest lawsuits in different areas of the country.

The very first environmental public interest case in China was filed by Friends of Nature and the Fujian Green Home Environment-Friendly Center, as co-plaintiffs, on 1 January 2015 – the first day the EPL entered into effect, against four defendants before Nanping Intermediate People’s Court of Fujian Province, seeking the defendants to restore the damaged woodland. In this case, the plaintiffs prevailed.26

Article 18 of the Interpretations of the Supreme People’s Court on Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Environment-related Civil Public Interest Lawsuits provides that, in addition to regular civil remedies, the court may issue injunctions compelling the tortfeasor to restore the environment or pay costs for such restoration to a public fund.

V Reporting and disclosure

The disclosure requirements and public involvement in connection with environmental protection can be found in Chapter 5 of the EPL. The MEP and the EPAs are responsible for disclosing information regarding environmental quality, supervision, emergencies, permits, penalisation, fee charging and usage issues, as the competent department of environmental protection at different levels. The EPAs also take charge of recording environmental violations in the social credit archives, and publishing the list of offenders to the public under Measures for the Disclosure of Environmental Information.27

Key pollutant-discharging entities are required to truthfully disclose the names of their major pollutants, discharge methods, emission concentration, total emissions and excess emissions, as well as the construction and operation of pollution prevention and control facilities.28 More details can be found in the Measures for the Disclosure of Environmental Information by Enterprises and Public Institutions.

VI Environmental protection

i Air quality

In China, the State Council sets the ultimate goals for air pollutant emission control periodically, and local governments are permitted to determine the emission control goal for their territory, for each entity, especially key pollutant discharging entities, and issue relevant permits.

The Integrated Emission Standards for Air Pollutants (GB16297 – 1996) set forth emission standards for 33 kinds of different air pollutants, together with specific air pollutant emission standards for boilers, industrial furnace, thermal-power stations, automobiles, motorcycles, etc. Local authorities are encouraged to establish more stringent emission standards for air pollutants.

Recently, Friends of Nature, as a social organisation, brought an environmental public interest lawsuit against Hyundai Motor (China) Investment Co, Ltd at Beijing No. 4 Intermediate People’s Court, alleging that the exhaust emissions of vehicles imported by defendant Hyundai Motor exceed the standard, and sought the defendant to cease the infringement and compensate for the costs in treating the air pollution.

ii Water quality

The Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution comprises Chapters regarding regulating water pollution with regard to industrial, urban, agricultural and rural, and vessel activities, and the Implementing Rules of the Law of the PRC on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution details corresponding requirements. The Surface Water Environmental Quality Standards (GB3828 – 2002) were made accordingly, listing various standards for surface water. Relevant provincial, prefectural and county authorities are empowered to set forth standards that are not specified by the State Council.

As the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution requires, entities are not allowed to discharge industrial and medical effluents without obtaining a permit from the government beforehand, and entities that perform centralised disposal of urban effluents should obtain permits in advance as well.29

iii Chemicals

Current effective laws and regulations for hazardous chemicals mainly include the Work Safety Law, the Regulations of the Work Safety Licence, the Fire Protection Law, the Emergency Response Law and the Regulations of the PRC on Administrative Chemicals Subject to Supervision and Control (amended in 2011).

Entities engaged in hazardous chemicals-related business shall obtain certain permits, conduct safety assessment, conduct environmental impact assessments and provide a responsive emergency plan at the initial stage of the project.

Besides EPAs, other authorities such as the administration of work safety, public securities organ, transportation administrative department, administration for industry and commerce and so forth are empowered to examine safety conditions, issue all sorts of permits, register hazardous chemicals, investigate accidents, investigate and penalise illegal acts, etc.

iv Solid and hazardous waste

The Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Waste concretely directs the work for the prevention and control of industrial solid waste and domestic garbage. Permits must be acquired for collection, storage, disposal and utilisation of hazardous waste, and hazardous waste manifest must be completed conforming to the regulations.30

Furthermore, there are regulations for transportation and disposal of abandoned electronic devices, medical waste, tailings and urban construction waste. However, China does not have requirements for financial assurance yet.

v Contaminated land

The current effective regime for contaminated land in China is reflected in the Action Plan for Soil Pollution Control31 issued by the State Council in 2016. Under the Action Plan, an individual or entity or its successors that contaminated the land should be responsible for clean-up. When such individual or entity is unidentifiable, the county government takes the responsibility. A pilot programme of obligatory liabilities insurance for environmental pollution is in progress for key industrial enterprises under the leadership of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and MEP, with the participation of a number of other authorities. However, other options to minimise or recover the costs from other responsible parties are not specified therein.

The legislature is currently still discussing and deliberating the Law for Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution. According to the draft, the Law will provide:

  • a principles of the work for prevention and control of soil pollution, such as systematic management and risk management;
  • b the fundamentals of the regime for prevention and control of soil pollution, consisting of pollution standards, investigation, detection, and prevention and control;
  • c regulations respecting lands for agricultural use and industrial use separately; and
  • d administrative and civil liabilities, with land user’s liability of protection and restoration included in addition to polluter’s liabilities.

Further lawmaking in relation to damage to natural resources is still in progress. For instance, the draft of the Law for Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution is under deliberation now.

VII Climate change

i Source of law and policies

Since China ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a number of administrative and regulative documents concerning climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission issues have been promulgated; for instance:

  • a China’s National Climate Change Programme (2007);
  • b the White Paper on China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2011);
  • c the 12th Five-Year Plan (for 2011–2015);
  • d the 13th Five-Year Plan (for 2016–2020) (13th FYP);
  • e the Action Plan for Adaption to Climate Change (2013); and
  • f China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2016).

However, although it started three years ago, the drafting of the Law on Combating Climate Change is still in progress and has not been put into the recent schedule of the legislature.

ii Regulatory authorities

The Department of Climate Change in the NDRC takes charge of climate change-related regulatory work. However, since there has not been any act of the National People’s Congress or ordinance of the state council, climate change-related law enforcement is very limited, and the authorities are still focusing on rulemaking.

iii Policy focus

China’s National Climate Change Programme illustrates that GHG mitigation should focus on key areas of energy production and transformation, energy efficiency improvement and energy conservation, industrial processes, agriculture, forestry and municipal wastes.

iv Regulated activities

As per the National Action Plan on Climate Change (2014–2020) issued by the NDRC, the regime for addressing climate change-related issues includes control of GHG emissions, adapting to climate change, low-carbon pilots and demonstrations, supporting policies, etc. In particular, concerning control of GHG emissions, various industries are specifically regulated including the energy industry (including electricity and fossil energy), iron and steel industry, architectural material industry (including cement, glass and ceramic), chemical industry, non-ferrous metal industry, paper industry, food and medicine industry and textile industry. Urban and rural construction, transportation area, agricultural activities, commercial activities and waste disposal are also regulated.32

In 2015, the National Standard Commission released the Requirements for GHG Emission Assessment and Reporting (GB/T 32151), comprising 10 sectors laying out national standards for power generation enterprises, power grid enterprises, magnesium smelting enterprises, aluminium smelting enterprises, iron and steel production enterprises, civil aviation companies, plate glass production enterprises, cement production enterprises, china production enterprises and chemical production enterprises.

v Domestic carbon trading

Emission trading is relatively new in China. The 13th FYP formulates a plan to establish a national carbon emission trading scheme, and to launch the national carbon emission trading market. In 2011, the NDRC selected seven provinces and cities, namely, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hubei, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin, to carry out carbon emission trading pilots, exploring market-based mechanisms to mitigate GHG emissions. At the end of 2015, seven pilot carbon emission trading markets were launched, involving over 20 sectors and more than 2,600 key-emission enterprises, with a total quota of 1.24 G-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) being imposed every year. The enterprises involved in carbon emissions trading markets in Beijing, Guangdon, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin have completed two annual rounds of fulfilment of responsibilities. These seven pilot carbon emissions trading markets have accumulatively completed the trading of quota of around 67 Mt CO2e, with an accumulated trading volume of up to 2.3 billion yuan.33

On 19 December 2017, the NDRC, upon approval of the State Council, issued the Building Plan for a National Carbon Trading Market (Power Generation Sector), marking the completion of overall design and start of operation, of a national carbon trading system. In 2018 the system will cover 1,700 companies in the power sector, which generate 3 billion tons of CO2e. According to the Building Plan, the system building will involve three steps: building nationwide date-reporting, registration and transaction log systems in year 1, conducting a simulated transaction of allowances in year 2 and checking the effectiveness and reliability of the market, and to start spot trading of allowances, and expand the market to cover other products and sectors thereafter, with the ultimate goal of building a carbon market with clear ownership, high-level protection, smooth circulation, effective regulation, fairness and transparency.

Because GHG largely comes from the same emitters of other air pollutants, controlling emission of air pollutants could significantly contribute to combating climate change. The EPL explicitly enforced a Pollutant Emission Administration System.34 The Implementation Plan for Controlling Pollutant Emission Permit System35 issued by the General Office of the State Council and the Interim Provisions on the Administration of Pollutant Emission Permit36 issued by MEP formulate the pollutant emission permits regime. A pollutant emission permit implements the administration of ‘comprehensive licence with one certificate’, and unifies standards on enterprise and institutional organisations’ discharge of air, water and other kinds of pollutants. The authority responsible for issuing the pollutant emission permit shall reasonably determine the type, concentration and emission volume of the pollutants according to pollutant emission standards, total quantity control indicators, environmental impact assessment documents, requirements of the approval, and so forth.37 By raising the standard for air permits, pollution-intensive enterprises could be shut down because of not meeting the legal requirements, or be voluntarily closed as being unable to afford the costs or being unable to realise the clean development, bringing the effect of carbon emission reduction.

vi Incentives to limit emissions

To encourage the use of clean energy, the NDRC, together with Ministry of Finance and Department of Energy, circulated Interim Administrative Measures for Additional Subsidy Funds for the Price of Renewable Energy Power.38 Qualified power generation from renewable energy, embracing wind, biomass energy (including power generation by directly burning and gasifying agricultural and forestry waste, waste incineration, waste landfill gas and forming marsh gas), solar, geothermal and ocean, are eligible for subsidies. This also aims to lower coal’s share in the country’s energy mix and improve coal’s efficiency. The NDRC, MEP, and Department of Energy circulated the Action Plan for the Transformation and Upgrading of Coal Power Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction,39 which lays out four supporting methods:

  • a providing subsidy for coal power generation sets that meet the ultra-low emission standard;
  • b considering the emission and efficiency level, increase the hours of using ultra-low emission power generation sets;
  • c increase the levy on pollution fees, while reducing the levy to 50 per cent when the emission concentration is lower than 50 per cent of the national or local standard; and
  • d providing fiscal credit support.
vii Targets and performance

In 2009, at the Copenhagen climate summit, Mr Wen Jiabao, then-premier of the State Council, announced China’s voluntary target for mitigating GHG emissions: by 2020, carbon dioxide emission will be reduced to 45 per cent – 40 per cent down from the 2005 level. It is clear that China has repeatedly strengthened its decarbonisation and low-carbon energy targets. China has been making remarkable achievements, exceeding most of its 2015 low-carbon energy and decarbonisation targets, and has made its 2020 energy and emissions targets more ambitious over time. During the 12th Five-Year Period (2011–2015), China’s energy-related carbon dioxide emission per unit of GDP was reduced by 20 per cent, exceeding the compulsory target of 17 per cent reduction that was previously proposed.40

viii Litigation or enforcement actions

There has not been any noteworthy litigation or enforcement action in China directly targeting climate change.

VIII Outlook and conclusions

After collecting a pollution discharge fee for about 30 years, in 2016 the Environmental Protection Tax Law announced the principle of ‘replacing fee with tax’. Environmental protection tax shall be levied from 1 January 2018, and the pollutant discharge fee shall no longer be applicable.

Also, on 17 December 2017, the General Office of CPC Central Committee and the General Office of State Council jointly issued the Reform Plan for the Ecological Environment Damage Compensation System, and announced that a pilot programme for a new ecological environment damage compensation system will be carried out across the country on 1 January 2018. The programme specifies three circumstances where damage compensation would be pursued against the polluters, as well as certain exceptions. The new system also aims to provide more clarity on the determination of the compensation and a more effective procedure.

Several legislative projects in relation to environment and climate change are still underway. As mentioned above, the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution Law is in the drafting process and currently under deliberation.

In the field of climate change, while the progress of the draft Law on Combating Climate Change is stagnant, the Department of Climate Change of the NDRC is preparing a national mandatory emission reduction scheme, replacing the present voluntary emission reduction scheme.

Judicial reform is also empowering the environment protection efforts. Specialised tribunals for environmental resources have been built in both lower and higher levels of the courts in some parts of the country, and will be constructed in more courts over the country, to hear civil cases in relation to ecological environmental damages and to provide an organisational guarantee to enhance the judicial work over environmental resources. The SPC will publish more guiding cases to lead and direct the judiciary in deciding environmental cases.

Similarly, as for the government, more efforts will be made in enforcing the schemes already in existence, and in initiating new plans regarding environmental protection.

1 Cheng Xiaofeng and Hu Ke are partners and Jiang Xinyan is an associate at Jingtian & Gongcheng.

2 Guo Fa [2016] No. 65.

3 http://english.sepa.gov.cn/About_SEPA/Mandates/.

4 Zhong Ban Fa (2016) No. 63.

5 The Environmental Protection Law, Articles 59–61.

6 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 59.

7 Denning Jin and Yongqi Tao, ‘Harsher Legal Liabilities under the New Environmental Law Regime’ 2015.

8 The Administrative Review Law, Article 2.

9 The Administrative Review Law, Article 12.

10 The Administrative Procedure Law, Article 2.

11 The Administrative Procedure Law, Article 14.

12 The Administrative Procedure Law, Article 26.

13 The Criminal law, Article 338.

14 The Criminal Law, Articles 114, 115.

15 The Criminal Law, Article 152.

16 The Criminal Law, Article 339(1).

17 The Criminal Law, Article 339(2).

18 The Criminal Law, Article 408.

19 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 64.

20 The Tort Liability Law, Article 29.

21 The Tort Liability Law, Articles 26, 67.

22 The Tort Liability Law, Articles 28, 68.

23 The Tort Liability Law, Article 15.

24 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 66.

25 (2016) Gui Min Zhong Zi No. 193.

26 (2015) Min Min Zhong Zi No. 2060.

27 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 54.

28 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 55.

29 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (amended in 2017, effective from 1 January 2018), Article 21.

30 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Waste, Article 57.

31 Guo Fa [2016] No.31.

32 Fa Gai Qi Hou [2014] No. 2347.

33 China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change 2016, available at: www.ccchina.gov.cn/archiver/ccchinacn/UpFile/Files/Default/20161103142418412488.pdf.

34 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 45.

35 Guo Ban Fa [2016] No. 81.

36 Huan Shui Ti [2016] No. 186.

37 The Interim Provisions on the Administration of Pollutant Discharge Permit, Articles 6, 10.

38 Cai Jian [2012] No.102.

39 Fa Gai Neng Yuan [2014] No. 2093.

40 China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2016), available at: www.ccchina.gov.cn/archiver/ccchinacn/UpFile/Files/Default/20161103142418412488.pdf.