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China regulates handling of ecological damage compensation cases

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-06-05 16:09
Workers clean a river in Changxing county, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - A trial regulation on handling cases of ecological damage compensation was released by China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) on, and effective as of, Wednesday.

The 23-article regulation is an important judicial explanation for exploring the improvement of the ecological and environmental damage compensation system, said Jiang Bixin, vice president of the SPC, at a press conference.

Jiang said that the regulation will serve as guidance for courts to deal with cases and hold polluters accountable by obliging them to repair the environment or pay compensation.

The regulation specifies the conditions for receiving a case and the requirements for trial procedures and evidence rules as well as improving the accountability system.

Plaintiffs of such cases are people's governments at provincial or city levels and designated departments and institutions, according to the regulation.

A plaintiff should file a lawsuit only if the plaintiff and the polluter fail to reach an agreement through consultation or they are unable to have a consultation.

The regulation also stipulates the rules for judicial confirmation of damage compensation agreements and specifies that the sentences given by courts should be enforced.

The country aims to establish an efficient comprehensive damage compensation system to protect and improve the country's ecosystem by 2020, according to a document released by central authorities in 2017.

The damage compensation system was first piloted in provincial-level regions of Jilin, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hunan, Chongqing, Guizhou and Yunnan and has been expanded to nationwide since 2018.

As of May 2019, courts nationwide had coped with 30 cases of ecological and environmental damage compensation litigated by people's governments at provincial and city levels, Jiang said.

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