Public interest litigation helps improve environmental inspection
Updated 20:44, 14-Feb-2019
By Du Zhuoran
01:19

Public interest litigation has prompted environmental authorities in China to investigate 59,000 cases concerning natural resources and ecological and environmental protection, with 1,400 square kilometers of damaged land repaired, according to data by the State Council Information Office (SCIO).

The SCIO held a press conference in Beijing on Thursday to discuss the current progress and future plans regarding China's environmental inspection.

Public interest litigation is a new function and power endowed by Chinese law, and has proved effective in tackling environmental crimes.

Zhang Xueqiao, deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said China's legal system now ensures efficient prosecution in such cases.

"The procuratorate files a public interest lawsuit at the administrative level, and urges a correction in behavior. The administrative organization would respond positively and actively to rectify the situation. The rectification rate involved in cases applicable to pre-trial procedures has now reached 97 percent," stressed Zhang when asked about the difference of the legal system in China and Western countries.

The State Council Information Office holds a press conference to discuss China's environmental inspection in Beijing, China, February 14, 2019. /CGTN Photo

The State Council Information Office holds a press conference to discuss China's environmental inspection in Beijing, China, February 14, 2019. /CGTN Photo

"Another reason is that all departments involved in litigation would work together for the same goal, which is to protect public natural resources and our environment," Zhang added.

In December, the SPP set up the Procuratorial Department VIII, which is dedicated to litigation against public interest cases including ecological and environmental cases.

Going forward, the authorities said they will strengthen inspection and supervision in various areas.

"We will increase the intensity of handling such cases and promote the standardization of legal procedures. We will also cooperate with other branches of government to speed up the work, and improve the professionalism of our entire legal team through training," said Hu Weilie, an inspector with the SPP.