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Cross-regional lawsuit test

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-24 07:31

Cross-regional lawsuit test
Wang Duo/China Daily

The procuratorate of Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province, recently filed a lawsuit in the city's intermediate people's court demanding compensation from the authorities of Yangpu district, Shanghai, for dumping the district's household garbage in Wuxi.

This is the first environmental public interest lawsuit in the country filed by a judicial department in one administrative region against a government department of another region.

In recent years, there have been few lawsuits involving cross-regional garbage dumping in China because the country's environmental protection law sets numerous requirements for the eligibility of such kind of lawsuits.

Despite the implementation of a regulation allowing procuratorial organs to file such cases on a trial basis, unblocked channels for other social organizations to do the same have not been established. That two nongovernmental environmental protection groups recently lost a soil pollution case jointly filed against three factories in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, and were ordered to pay an enormous amount of legal fees has drawn extensive public concern.

Their losing of the case has presented a worrying situation to the country's NGOs in their efforts to file public interest lawsuits. In this context, the public naturally has higher expectations that an environmental lawsuit brought by a procuratorate will be successful.

Statistics show that since the experimental implementation of the practice allowing procuratorial organs in some regions to file lawsuits in the public interest, such kind of lawsuits have drastically increased. This is a welcome development to protect the public interest.

The legal case filed by the Wuxi procuratorate is now in the public spotlight and the verdict will be a touchstone for whether cross-regional public interest litigation will be an effective way to strengthen environmental protection in the context of China's new round of judicial reforms aimed at promoting judicial justice.

--Southern Metropolis Daily

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