Top procurator: China's environmental crime arrests up by 21 percent
Updated 17:53, 12-Mar-2019
By Li Zhao, Hu Yiwei

Violations against environmental preservation, property rights, minors and martyrs protection were severely punished in 2018, according to an annual report delivered by China's Procurator-General Zhang Jun on Friday at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

Over 42,000 people were sued for damaging environmental resources by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), a 21 percent increase compared to that in 2017.

The SPP has "based its work on people's increasing demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment in a new era," Zhang said.

In general, the system has approved the arrest of around 1.06 million criminal suspects over the year, a 2.3 percent drop compared to last year; meanwhile, they have prosecuted 1.7 million people, a 0.8 percent drop from 2017. 

More supervision has been enforced against criminal acts in all fronts, with cases summed up to the number of 447,940. 

CGTN walks you through the highlights of what the SPP has achieved in 2018: 

Fight through "three tough battles": Financial risks, poverty and pollution

Property rights preservation remains a major task: 8,325 people prosecuted for patent rights, trademark and business secret infringement, a 16.3 percent increase from last year. 

Other criminal acts that harmed the financial markets were also punished harshly, specifically those whose crimes involved a large group of people.

Zero tolerance to poverty relief fund corruption: 1,160 people prosecuted for relief fund abuse.

Environmental crime arrests up to 21 percent: 42,195 people sued for harming ecological resources.

The SPP vows to put more effort into environmental preservation while setting more restricted standard for pollution-related crimes.

Crack down on criminal gangs resolutely

Approved arrest of 62,202 for serious violent crimes including homicide, kidnapping and arson, while 50,827 more have been sued. Approved to arrest 11,183 for crimes related to mafia-like organizations, with 10,361 others being sued.

According to the SPP, they will not let go of any single person involved in mafia-like organizations or having conducted serious violent crimes. 

Safeguard the safety of food and drugs

12,360 sued for making counterfeit drugs or poisonous food, marking an increase of 5.5 percent year-on-year. Emphasis will be put on public interests litigation concerning secondary and primary schools, grocery markets and online delivery products.

Strengthen protection of minors

50,705 sued for harming minors (those under the age of 18) in 2018, up by 6.8 percent. Those criminal acts include sexual assault, kidnapping, and child abuse. 

The SPP clarified the line for child sexual abuse; those criminal acts include not just physical conducts, but mental abuse as well. Regarding a sexual assault case that took place between 2011 and 2012 involving seven girls under the age of 12, the offender's 10-year imprisonment was prolonged to a life sentence due to the severe consequences the children had to endure.

Pay extra attention to 'special groups'

21,949 sued for damaging women's rights; 5,439 sued for harming disabled people's rights;  2,361 sued for delaying rural migrant workers' wages on purpose. 

The office urged for a closer relationship between doctors and patients, penalizing those who use physical violence against medical personnel strongly.

Preserve veterans' legitimate rights

Legal assistance was offered in time for 122 military staff and their families to preserve their legitimate rights better. The SPP vows to wholeheartedly implement the landmark law of protecting heroes' and martyrs' reputation and honor, passed unanimously last April.

Look ahead in 2019

For the year ahead, the prosecution authority looks for "stable development" of the overall situation based on law, with more emphasis put into areas like terrorism, separatist activities, and religious extremism. The office will resolutely adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and continue to beef up efforts in overseeing the work of the judicial staff at all levels.

Graphics: Fan Chenxiao, Li Wenyi, Yin Yating