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Official urges public to sue polluters
Updated: 2004-10-25 14:37

An official with China's environmental protection watchdog said China should set up a special public interest litigation mechanism to help people protect themselves against the country's worsening environment.

With such a mechanism the public will have the right to sue polluters, said Pan Yue, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). The court will then order the violators to stop, pay for the damage and restore the environment.

According to him, the power that the administrative authorities at various levels have according to the law is somewhat limited and they lack the power to punish the violators.

"So I would propose the public to bring a public interest litigation against the violators," he said.

But according to China's existing law system, the status of public interest litigation is not clear. As a result, people are not allowed to sue polluters. He warned that if the conflict between the violators and the victims is not resolved, it is likely to threaten the stability and security of the society.

"Given that the administrative authorities don't have enough power or strength to solve the widespread environmental violation activities, we suggest the people to bring actions against the violators," he said.

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