I Introduction

China witnessed significant developments to its environmental legislative landscape in 2018, which was the first year to see the resolutions of the 19th National Congress of the ruling party implemented, and was also a key period of transition for the 13th Five-Year Plan.2 The government treats environmental problems seriously, and has committed to fight for the prevention and control of pollution and to combat climate change in its pursuit of 'rapid, sustainable and healthy development'.

To achieve this, during the state institutional reform, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has been officially renamed as the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), with the aim to consolidate law enforcement to protect the ecological environment.

New domestic legislation, amendments and regulations encompass protection of soil, water sources, ozone layer, ecological system and maritime environment.3 The most noteworthy legislation that came into force in 2018 was the Environmental Protection Tax Law of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which levied tax duties to replace discharge fees.

In respect of climate change, China supports the Paris Agreement and has committed to the promises made by fellow treaty members. 2018 was the first year for the newly launched national carbon trading market to be fully functional in China, with the power industry being the first fully covered industry and the total market value of the new trading scheme expected to reach 2 trillion yuan in the long term.4

II Legislative framework

The Environmental Protection Law (EPL), the primary source of law for environmental protection, was significantly amended in 2014. It 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.

Following the establishment of EPL, the MEE has made significant efforts each year to improve the environmental protection legislative framework in China. New legislation introduced in 2018 includes the Environmental Protection Tax Law of the PRC (effective since 1 April 2018, amended on 26 October 2018) and the Amendment to the Law of the PRC on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (effective since 1 January 2018).

The Environmental Protection Tax Law is the first single tax law that embodies the 'green tax system'. The environmental tax is levied at an industry-specific fluctuating rate and more emission will incur higher tax; revenue will go to local government to compensate the local government for its loss of tax revenue as a result of the tax burden on local polluters.5

The amended Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution has also been in force since 1 January 2018. The new law specifies more operational requirements. For instance, it demands underground oil tanks such as gas stations to use double-deck tanks or put in place other effective measures to prevent groundwater pollution. In addition, the new law also imposes harsher punishment for violations.6

Other laws that were amended in 2018 include the Law on Maritime Environmental Protection, the Energy Conservation Law, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, the Circular Economy Promotion Law, the Sand Control Law and the Law on the Protection of Wildlife.7

The regulations that were amended in 2018 include Regulations on Pollution Prevention and Control of Marine Environment in Coastal Construction Projects, Regulations for Prevention and Control of Marine Pollution Caused by Marine Construction Projects, Regulations on Natural Reserves, Ozone Depleting Substances Management Ordinance, and Regulations on Prevention and Control of Marine Pollution by Ships.8 Besides, the new Reform Plan of Compensation System for Ecological Environmental Damage also took effect on 1 January 2018, where it stipulates that, by 2020, efforts shall be made to primarily establish a nationwide compensation system for damage to the ecological environment, with clear responsibilities, viable channels, normative technologies and effective compensation and restoration schemes.9

III The regulators

The MEE remains as the central authority in enforcing environment and climate change laws and regulations in China. Provincial, prefectural and county governments have their own departments of environmental protection that work under the supervision of the MEE. That said, other departments are taking responsibility for environmental protection in matters within their jurisdiction. The State Oceanic Administration is responsible for maritime ecosystem and environment protection; the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Land Resources, the 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, administrative decisions rendered by the regulatory authorities may be challenged before the people's courts, which decide whether the decision (and the underlying procedure leading to the decision) is legitimate, 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.

According to Opinions on Strengthening Ecological Environmental Protection by the State Council,10 local governments are now explicitly encouraged to legislate ahead of the central government in the field of environmental protection.

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 to publish guiding cases with binding authority over the courts to unify the application of laws in judicial practice. Based on the Opinions of the Supreme People's Court on Providing Judicial Services and Supports for the Protection of the Ecological Environment, dated 4 June 2018,11 qualified high and intermediate people's courts may set up environmental resource divisions separately; if not qualified, they may set up specialised collegiate benches or judicial teams in relevant courts to take charge of environmental resources judicial works. The end purpose is to have the criminal, civil and administrative cases concerning environmental resources be handled by special judicial agencies or professional trial teams.

IV Enforcement

i Administrative 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 in charge. According to the Opinions 2018,12 the government would set up an integrated law enforcement team dedicated to the protection of the ecological environment, to be included in the queue of government administrative law enforcement agencies to promote the standardisation of law enforcement through the unification of public images, identifications, certificates, vehicles and equipment. It is considered as a further empowerment to the law enforcement agencies following the 2016 Guiding Opinions Regarding Pilot Work on Reform of Vertical Management System for Monitoring Enforcement of Environmental Protection Institutions under Provincial Level, which aimed at curbing the influence of regionalism and short-sighted economic development for effective environment protection.13

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.14 Continuing 'illegal discharge of pollutants' will be subject to consecutive daily fines, the amount of which is decided based on the actual needs.15 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.16 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.

Besides, according to the Administrative Review Law, private citizens or entities may challenge the administrative acts taken by administrative organs before competent governments or administrative agencies to contest such administrative act.17 When refusing to accept a specific administrative act taken by a department of the government at or above 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.18

ii Administrative actions

Private citizens or entities may bring administrative actions before competent courts against such administrative organs to contest administrative decisions or acts.19 In most circumstances, district courts have jurisdiction over administrative lawsuits of first instance.20 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 of a prior administrative review, the review organ, depending on the outcome of the review.21

In addition, in accordance with Article 25 of Administrative Procedural Law (newly amended on 30 June 2017), the People's Procuratorate is empowered to file actions against those administrative organs or agencies that fail to perform their statutory duties to protect ecological environment.

iii 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 the People's Procuratorate prosecutes 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 impairing the protection of environment and resources;22 spreading poisonous or radioactive substances;23 smuggling waste;24 illegally dumping, piling up or treating solid wastes from abroad within the territory of China;25 importing solid wastes without permission;26 and dereliction of duty crime in environment administration.27 Article 346 of the Criminal Law also provides that an entity that commits the above-mentioned crimes shall be fined.

Zhejiang Province Lishui Intermediate People's Court ruled on a significant case on 22 January 2018, Lishui Liandu District People's Procuratorate v. Zhaolu Liu,28 in which the plaintiff sued the defendant for crimes of environmental pollution. The defendant was fined for interfering with the automatic monitoring equipment for the sewage treatment pond, which resulted in sampling error when tested by staff of the local environmental protection bureau. The Court ruled that the defendant's action violated the Criminal Law29 and the relevant interpretation.30,31

iv Private civil actions

Victims may bring tort action against environmental tortfeasors 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.32

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,33 and the plaintiff only needs to prove tortious conduct and damage to establish a prima facie case. The most commonly used defences under the Tort Liability Law are force majeure, contributory liability34 and third-party liability.35

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.36

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.37

v 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 specifies the conditions for a social organisation to bring public interest lawsuits.38

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. 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, courts may issue injunctions compelling tortfeasor to restore the environment or pay costs for such restoration to a public fund.

After the very first environmental public interest case between Friends of Nature and the Fujian Green Home Environment-Friendly Centre, another significant case was brought to the spotlight by Zhejiang Kaihua People's Court. The court rendered a civil ruling on 27 September 2018, Zhejiang Kaihua People's Procuratorate v. Quzhou Ruilijie Chemical Industry Co Ltd,39 in which it was held that Ruilijie's tortious conduct has caused massive irreversible damage to the local ecological environment and severely harmed public interest, therefore shall bear civil liability and any disposal and restoration costs associated with it, which amounted to over 1 million yuan.

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 MEE 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.40

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.41 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

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 Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution is the primary source of law that governs air pollution-related environmental problems. It stipulates that air quality standards and emission targets shall be set by MEE or local governments,42 violations to the law will be subject to fines.43 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.

To further implement the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, various standards and plans were issued in 2018. The MEE promulgated the Technical Specifications for Operation and Quality Control of Ambient Air Quality Automated Monitoring System for Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5),44 which added operation and quality control requirements for PM2.5 continuous automatic monitoring system. In the automobile industry, the Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles45 (China V Emission Standard) has been in force since 1 January 2018 in accordance with the Air Pollution Control Plan.46 The newly enforced standard is equivalent to EU Stage 5 emission standards, and automobiles that follow pre-China IV standards would not be allowed on the road anymore. The new standard is expected to cut the NOx emission by 25 to 43 per cent. Further, the China VI Emission Standard is currently under preparation and is expected to enter into force from 1 July 2020. Meanwhile, the Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions from Diesel Vehicles was approved on 27 September 2018,47 which added on-board diagnostics checks, emission limits for NOx and adjusted the smoke emission limits, and is expected to be effective from 1 May 2019.

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. As required by the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, 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.48 The amendment to the Law in 2018 places special focus on agricultural water waste and drinkable water safety, while also increasing the cost of violation to a maximum of 1 million yuan.49

Alongside the amendment to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution in 2018, the MEE issued the Discharge Standard for Water Pollutants from Ships on 16 January 2018 and became effective on 1 July 2018.50 The new standard provides for discharge control requirements for oily sewage, domestic sewage, sewage containing toxic liquid substances and ship garbage disposal according to the types of water and ship.

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.

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.51 Further, 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.

To further implement the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Waste, the MEE issued a new method52 in 2018 to standardise the evaluation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in solid wastes and their leachate to better regulate the hazardous impact of this type of persistent organic pollutant on human health.

v Contaminated land

On 31 August 2018, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution was adopted by the fifth meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress and was scheduled to become effective on 1 January 2019.53 Compared to atmospheric pollution and water pollution, soil pollution is more invisible and accumulative, yet it is the most difficult to detect instantly. For the purpose of better regulation and deterrence, the new law was drafted with four major spotlights:

  1. any organisation or individual has the obligation to protect the soil and prevent soil pollution, and effective measures should be taken to prevent and reduce soil pollution, otherwise legal responsibilities will incur according to the law;54
  2. the State Council has the unified leadership to conduct nationwide census of soil pollution and the census shall be organised at least once every 10 years;55
  3. a central special fund and provincial fund for soil pollution prevention and control willl be established, dedicated to the prevention and control of soil pollution on agricultural land, and also applied to soil pollution risk management and remediation when the responsible person cannot be identified;56 and
  4. any violation of the law will be subject to fine up to 2 million yuan,57 and for criminal acts, the person involved will be prohibited from entering the practice indefinitely.58

Regarding soil polluting actions that harm national and public interests, relevant agencies and associations can bring tort actions against the environmental tortfeasors under the EPL, Civil Procedural Law and Administrative Procedural Law.

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:

  1. China's National Climate Change Programme (2007);
  2. the White Paper on China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2011);
  3. the 12th Five-Year Plan (for 2011 to 2015);
  4. the 13th Five-Year Plan (for 2016 to 2020);
  5. the Action Plan for Adaption to Climate Change (2013); and
  6. 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 to 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.59

v Domestic carbon trading

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. According to the Building Plan, the system building will involve three steps: building nationwide date-reporting, registration and transaction log systems in the first year, conducting a simulated transaction of allowances in the second year 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.

According to the MEE, up until August 2018, the total carbon trading volume in seven pilot markets, including Beijing and Tianjin, has reached 6 billion yuan, and the total volume and intensity of carbon emissions have been reduced.60 The Director of Climate Change Division of Ministry of Ecology and Environment pointed out that China's rapid growth of carbon emissions has been initially reversed and has decreased from rapid to low growth.61 The guiding document on the establishment and operation of the carbon trading market, the Provisional Regulations on Management of Carbon Emissions Trading, has been drafted and the relevant department is striving for the introduction as soon as possible, but the issuance time is not yet confirmed.

VIII Outlook and conclusions

There were some significant improvements and changes to the environmental protection system in China in 2018. The former MEP was renamed to the MEE, demonstrating the government's resolve to not only protect but preserve the ecological environment. With the introduction of two major legislation this year, the Environmental Protection Tax Law and the new version of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, together with the new Reform Plan of Compensation System for Ecological Environmental Damage, the national environmental legislative landscape has gradually become more comprehensive.

The overall legislative trend in China in the past year has been to decentralise legislative and regulatory powers, but enforcement has become more unified and standardised in an effort to achieve the long-term effect of environmental protection. Meanwhile, there have been more proceedings brought by the People's Procuratorate against perpetrators under environmental protection legislation compared to 2017, and more impactful cases are expected to arise in 2019 as governments and society become familiarised with new legal instruments.

For the purpose of in-depth implementation of environmental protection laws and regulations, technical specifications and operational standards that cover more and more industries are being promulgated by the MEE in pursuit of building a 'green economy', especially to combat air pollution that haunts most of China. A more aggressive automobile emission standard, China VI, is scheduled to be enforceable from 2020, while the new emission standard for diesel vehicles will become effective this year. Moreover, China is also expecting the enforcement of the new Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution to be implemented as of the beginning of this year.

Lastly, the domestic carbon trading scheme was introduced to the market in 2018 with the first eight months of the year having witnessed the trading volume of 6 billion yuan. With more and more industries and businesses getting involved, some observers projects the total market value to reach 200 billion yuan in 10 years' time.


Footnotes

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

2 China Daily, 2018, https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1588531779602271929&wfr=spider&for=pc.

3 Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018, http://www.mee.gov.cn/gzfw_13107/zcfg/fl/.

4 Hui Wang, 2018. The Prospects of Chinese Carbon Trading Market. Foresight Industry Research Institute.

5 Dowater, 2018, http://www.dowater.com/info/2018-01-05/634469.html.

6 Dowater, 2018, http://www.dowater.com/info/2018-01-05/634522.html.

7 Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018.

8 Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018.

9 MOFCOM, 2018, http://diagram.mofcom.gov.cn/di/5a4478a9cd91897bcee836ba.

10 Xinhua Net, 2018, http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/2018-06/24/content_5300953.htm.

11 The Supreme People's Court, 2018, http://www.court.gov.cn/fabu-xiangqing-99842.html.

12 Xinhua Net, 2018, http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/2018-06/24/content_5300953.htm.

13 Zhong Ban Fa (2016) No. 63.

14 The Environmental Protection Law, Articles 59–61.

15 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 59.

16 Denning Jin and Yongqi Tao, 'Harsher Legal Liabilities under the New Environmental Law Regime' 2015.

17 The Administrative Review Law, Article 2.

18 The Administrative Review Law, Article 12.

19 The Administrative Procedure Law, Article 2.

20 The Administrative Procedure Law, Article 14.

21 The Administrative Procedure Law, Article 26.

22 The Criminal Law, Article 338.

23 The Criminal Law, Articles 114, 115.

24 The Criminal Law, Article 152.

25 The Criminal Law, Article 339(1).

26 The Criminal Law, Article 339(2).

27 The Criminal Law, Article 408.

28 Case number: (2018) Zhe 11 Xingzhong No. 42. Retrieved from: China Judgments Online.

29 The Criminal Law, Articles 338, 67(3), 45, 47 and 52.

30 Article 1(18) of Interpretation of Some Applicable Laws in Handling Criminal Cases Involving Environmental Pollution by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

31 Case number: (2018) Zhe 1102 Xingchu No. 38. Retrieved from: China Judgments Online.

32 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 64.

33 The Tort Liability Law, Article 29.

34 The Tort Liability Law, Articles 26, 67.

35 The Tort Liability Law, Articles 28, 68.

36 The Tort Liability Law, Article 15.

37 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 66.

38 There are two conditions under Article 58: 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 the social organisation has been specially engaged in public environmental protection activities over five consecutive years, without record of any violation of laws.

39 Case Number: (2017) Zhe 0824 Minchu No. 3843.

40 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 54.

41 The Environmental Protection Law, Article 55.

42 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, Article 8.

43 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, Chapter 7.

44 HJ 817-2018 partially in replacement of HJ/T 193-2005. Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018, http://kjs.mee.gov.cn/hjbhbz/bzwb/.

45 GB 18352.5 – 2013 (China V Emission Standard) in replacement of GB18352.3 – 2005 (China IV Emission Standard). Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018.

46 Guofa [2013] No. 37. The Plan requires that by 2017, the national inhalable particulate matter concentration to decrease by more than 10 per cent compared to 2012. The fine particulate matter concentration in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta to be decreased by 25 per cent, 20 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. The average annual fine particulate matter concentration in Beijing should be controlled at 60 micrograms/cubic metres circa.

47 GB 3847-2018 in replacement of GB3847-2005. Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018.

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

49 Dowater, 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.dowater.com/info/2018-01-05/634469.html.

50 GB 3552-2018 in replacement of GB 3552-83. Ministry of Ecology and Environment, 2018.

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

52 HJ 950-2018 by MEE. Effective from 1 December 2018.

53 The PRC President Order No. 8, 2018, http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/2018-08/31/content_2060158.htm.

54 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, Article 4.

55 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, Article 14.

56 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, Article 71.

57 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, Article 86.

58 The Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, Article 90.

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

60 http://k.sina.com.cn/article_1641561812_61d83ed402000e98x.html.

61 MEE, 2018, http://shoudian.bjx.com.cn/html/20181112/940888.shtml.