We have launched E-mail Alert service,subscribers can receive the latest catalogues free of charge

You Are Here: Home > Publications> Articles

How to Get Rid of Formalism in Environmental Protection


By Chang Jiwen, DRC


Since the ecological civilization reform, especially after the implementation of the revised Environmental Protection Law and the enforcement of the accountability system of leading cadres of the Party and governments, environmental supervision has become strengthened with improved environmental protection results. However, the formalism in environmental protection has remained unresolved, leading to environmental pollution and ecological damage.

Some facts relating to cadres’ formalism in environmental protection are as follows. 1. Leading cadres are swamped with reviewing papers and attending meetings and their inspections at grassroots levels are just like going through the motions. 2. Their work relating to the treatment and management of environmental issues are superficial and they use various methods to cope with the evaluation of their work performance by senior leaders. 3. The evaluation of cadres’ work performance is quite loose and the accountability is not strictly enforced. 4. In face of difficulties, some cadres try to get around them and do not shoulder the responsibilities. 5. Supervision goes from one extreme to another and supervisors are accountable neither for environmental protection nor for economic growth.

Reasons of cadres’ formalism in environmental protection include: 1. Their responsibility and power don’t match with each other. Some cadres feel tired both physically and mentally and some even go against the law. 2. The incentive and restraint mechanism is not mature and those who strictly enforce the rules and regulations are not charged with important tasks. 3. Some of the true information collected at grassroots levels is hard to be submitted to higher-ranking officials; some of the documents issued by higher-level governments are divorced from reality, and some are self-contradictory and cannot be implemented. 4. The ability of supervision is not adequate, and some cadres do not know how to supervise or cannot supervise. 5. The structure of social governance is unbalanced and the function of technical service organizations and social organizations is not brought into full play. 6. The supervision system is not appropriate, and some fields lack supervision and some fields are beyond supervision. 7. The local stakeholders have complicated relationship and some requirements relating to accountability are not fulfilled.

Ways to get rid of formalism in environmental protection. 1. In terms of the supervision system of environmental protection, we need to draw up a power list and establish the system and mechanism of “relieving accountability when the duty is fulfilled and claiming accountability due to dereliction of duties”. 2. In terms of the main law-based structure for environmental protection, we need to further give play to the function of all major management entities relating to environmental protection. 3. In terms of the legal system enforcement of environmental protection, we need to reform the current environmental law based on requirements of ecological civilization system reform. The reform needs to be in line with intra-Party rules and regulations, the national jurisdiction, the Environmental Protection Law and the innovation-based interpretation of the present legislation so that the ecological civilization system reform could be shored up by the state administration. 4. With regard to the scientific decision-making of environmental protection, we need to pursue scientific and democratic decision-making and prevent the environmental problem at source. 5. As regards the ability building in environmental supervision, we need to enhance the ability of leading cadres and enrich the professional knowledge of supervisors. 6. As for the methods of national environment improvement, we need to flesh out supervision effectiveness. 7. With respect to the fulfillment of regional environmental responsibilities, we need to be fair in meting out rewards and punishments, and require local authorities to attach importance to environmental protection.