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China sets up comprehensive environmental judicial system

By CAO YIN | | Updated: 2024-06-05 16:11
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China had more than 2,800 adjudication bodies that specialize in handling environmental cases by the end of last year, meaning it has become a country with the most extensive and complete judicial system on the issue, an official from the nation's top court said.

Data released by the Supreme People's Court on Monday, World Environment Day, showed that China has established a total of 2,813 adjudication institutes on environment, such as tribunals, panels and judicial teams, as of December 2023, up 15.59 percent compared with 2022.

Last year, environmental adjudication tribunals were set up in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and Chongqing, while a number of judicial teams for tackling environmental disputes were also built along with major rivers, as well as in nature reserves, national parks and tourist spots.

"These institutes demonstrate that a specialized, intensive and complete judicial system on the environment has been created in our country, signalizing that the handing of our environmental cases has also become more professional," said Yang Linping, vice-president of the top court.

Thanks to the improvement in the environmental case hearing and the public's increasing awareness of environmental protection, Chinese courts concluded 232,000 such cases in 2023, down 5.8 percent year-on-year, according to the data.

These environmental cases not only covered air, noise and water pollution, but also involved low-carbon, illegal mining, biodiversity and smuggling of precious animals or relevant products, said a report on environmental justice 2023, which was also issued by the top court on Monday.

In addition, the top court disclosed three influential cases in which third-party institutes were punished for seeking illicit gains by providing fake environmental reports to individuals or departments, in a move to show Chinese courts' stronger determination to protect the environment.

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