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This book focuses on how to create an environmentally friendly society in China from the viewpoint of environmental law and policy. The authors accessed a great number of valuable sources not available in English, and interviewed various scholars and public officials, in order to analyze the environmental policies in China while comparing some of the features to Japan. The book stresses the importance of introducing a brand-new policy of central and local government, and analyses why these policies have not been executed effectively in the local society. In addition to the economy-oriented policy and spirit of the Chinese nation, which are the main causes, this book also highlights shortcomings in the inspection system, information management, and the extremely low degree of public participation as important aspects to focus on in order to tackle the current problems. The individual chapters will help readers to understand the environmental issues in China in depth, and provide guidance on resolving the issues in China and in developing countries that are now or soon will be facing the challenge of combining economic growth and environmental improvement.

Air, water and soil pollution are serious challenges in China. The deterioration of the environment often leads to rioting that influences social stability, which is also a great concern to foreign investors. This book will be of interest to a professional audience such as policymakers, journalists, members of environmental NGOs, managers and employees who do business with China, as well as academic researchers and students.



Chapter 1. Environmental Policy Under President Xi Jinping Leadership: The Changing Environmental Norms

Across China, exacerbating air quality deterioration, water pollution, and land degradation are serious problems that often lead to episodes of violent protest and public unrest. It goes without saying that the prevention and control of these crisis-ridden environmental problems pose one of the most daunting tasks confronting China today. Against this backdrop, the purpose of this chapter is to examine the characteristics and effectiveness of China’s recent environmental policies in addressing its mounting environmental problems. These include China’s new blueprint for the promotion of eco-civilization, the Chinese Communist Party’s environmental resolutions, and environmental law amendments. The chapter concludes by suggesting ways to addressing the current environmental woes facing China today.
Hideki Kitagawa

Chapter 2. Evolution of Environmental Thought and Enforcement of Environmental Protection Legislation in China: The Status Quo

This paper analyzes the background, the process, and the evolution of environmental thought of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in its approval of the Environmental Protection Law (for trial implementation) in 1979. It also discusses its subsequent revision in 1989 followed by its eventual official enactment in 2014. It further evaluates the effectiveness of this legal enactment since it came into force in 2015 in addressing various pressing environmental issues confronting China today. It is concluded that despite the evolution of thought over the past few decades in giving priority to environmental protection to economic growth, casual conservation on the ground indicates that this does not necessarily transform into action in reality.
Jin Wang

Chapter 3. Land Contamination Legislation in China: The Emerging Challenges

This paper examines the Chinese system and its problems in managing contaminated land. China is facing deteriorated land contamination and the management of contaminated land is now assuming greater attention in Chinese debates. A national framework on contaminated land management has been under preparation. Over the past decades, environmental laws and regulations have been developed in China to address contaminated land issues. A number of different mechanisms have therefore been established. However, the existing management system appears to be ineffective. By examining the practices of some leading nations, e.g. the USA and UK, some suggestions are provided which might be helpful for China to improve its management of contaminated land. The author argues that a systematic contaminated land remediation mechanism, a sounder liability scheme and a more effective financial assistance scheme should be considered by the Chinese legislature in developing a national regime for contaminated land.
Xiaobo Zhao

Chapter 4. Environmental Management System in China: The Target Achieving Process

This paper indicated how insufficient authorities given to China’s Environmental Protection Bureaus and its lower status in governmental hierarchy caused leniency in the enforcement of environmental policies and hence the lower level of compliance in the past.
The Target Responsibility System and the management system for TRS process, such as Target Allocating Process and Target Achievement Process, have been important methods for China to overcome the problems in enforcing environmental policies.
Moreover, China has implemented and improved the system of public engagement with sufficient environmental information disclosure while expediting the processing of the complaints and petitions reported by citizens.
Zhen Jin

Chapter 5. An Analysis of China Coal Resource Tax Reform and Its Implications on Resource Saving

As a traditional and feasible policy instrument, taxation is regarded for dealing with energy issues in politics and governance. This paper focused on the coal resource tax in China as an example of the energy tax and analysed the impacts of the tax system on fiscal revenue, resource conservation and energy savings for the period of 1994–2011. Based on this analysis, this paper discussed the goals and challenges of the 2011 coal resource tax reform, which changed the tax system from a volume-based system to a fixed-rate ad valorem one based on sales.
Yanmin He

Chapter 6. Environmental Litigation and External Influence from Outside the Court in the PRC: A Case Study of Zhang Changjian et al. v. Rongping Chemical Plant

In this chapter, I will examine how some political bodies impact the judicial courts where environmental litigations take place. The focus is on the political bodies that have the most substantial influence on a local court if certain political bodies, such as the upper class court, the local Committee of the CPC, or the Environmental Protection Agency of the upper class local government, offer suggestions on the same case.
By looking through the whole dispute process, this paper concludes that the decisions regarding an environmental dispute made by the local Committee of the CPC could have a substantial impact on the decisions of the local court, while the EPA of the upper level local government or the upper level local court could be disregarded by the local court.
Jiro Sakurai

Chapter 7. The Non-litigation Approach to Environmental Disputes in China: The Environmental Complaint Letters and Visits System – An Analysis

Environmental dispute resolution generally includes settlements through litigation and non-litigation approaches. In light of the deficiencies in China’s environmental legislation, the limited capabilities of courts in dealing with environmental disputes and the lack of public trust in courts, litigation has never been the main approach to resolving environmental disputes.
This article first looks back the history of the development of China’s environmental complaint letters and visits system. Then, this article analyzes the necessity of environmental complaint letters and visits in environmental dispute resolution. This is not only because the environmental complaint letters and visits fit in with China’s traditional culture and the current situation, either. More importantly, it is the most effective and low-cost way to resolve environmental disputes. But with the reform of the judicial system in China, especially since the environmental protection departments are not willing to involve themselves in environmental dispute resolution, the most recent environmental legislation tends to abolish the responsibilities of the environmental protection departments with regard to the resolution of environmental disputes. This article examines the defects of the current environmental complaint letters and visits system and suggests two major steps to improve it. The first is to set up a specialized agency for environmental dispute settlement. The second is to provide that environmental dispute settlement agency with the authority and the means to settle disputes.
Shijun Zhang

Chapter 8. Review of the Legislation on Public Participation in EIA in China: From Disorder to Normalization

China began to implement environment impact assessment (hereinafter referred to as EIA) in the late 1970s; however, public participation had not been introduced into EIA procedure until 10 years later. Accordingly, since the late 1990s, public participation in EIA in China started from scratch and has gone through the development process from disorder to normalization. China’s early legislation on public participation in EIA was too vague and impractical, which led to the disorder of practice in public participation in EIA. In 2006, China enacted special measures, making public participation in EIA achieve a preliminary legalization. Deep-seated problems in the practice of public participation in EIA in recent years, such as the lack of validity and authenticity of public participation, have presented new challenges for the legislation on public participation in EIA. China has begun to revise the Interim Measures, intending to resolve core issues, such as the scope of application for public participation in EIA, the criteria for how “fully” the public opinions are solicited, and the effect of public opinions, so as to improve the authenticity and validity of public participation.
Shekun Wang

Chapter 9. Multi-tiered Nature of Environmental Pollution Problems and the Pollution Control Governance in China: The Role of Environmental NGOs

Environmental pollution in China is a multi-tiered problem influenced by many interrelated factors at different scales, such as local, national, and global politics and the economy. Recent ever-increasing environmental pollution incidents in China indicate the limitations of one-sided environmental measures by the government and companies. The role of environmental NGOs and their participation are increasingly significant for improving environmental pollution controlling governance in China.
This chapter studies the multi-tiered nature of environmental pollution in China through case studies in air pollution and industrial pollution. Then, it studies some recent work by environmental NGOs to try to achieve a breakthrough to cope with the politically and economically multi-tiered nature of environmental pollution.
Work by environmental NGOs will have a positive effect on alleviating public discontent concerning environmental pollution. They will also help the government work as an intermediary between the public and polluting companies. Restrictions on this work by environmental NGOs, on the contrary, will worsen the public discontent and prevent progress in the area of pollution controlling governance in China.
Akihiro Chiashi

Chapter 10. Environmental NGOs and Environmental Pollution in China

In China, environmental NGOs have developed over the 20 years despite its strict political system. This chapter describes the types of environmental NGOs in China and their developing and growing process. It also considers the importance of the lessons learned from the Japanese in association with the power of civil society including NGOs in resolving environmental pollution problems. What are the Chinese environmental NGOs doing in dealing with environmental pollution? How do they make relationships with the Japanese counterparts? The objective of this chapter is to answer these questions. In answering these questions, important lessons can be drawn in mitigating environmental pollution.
Yasushi Aikawa


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