Press conference on working measures and effect of people's courts in the new era

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China Media Group:

The 18th CPC National Congress report proposed that ecological conservation should be placed in a prominent position. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, significant steps have been taken in building a beautiful China, and China's eco-environmental protection has undergone historic, transformational, and overall changes. In promoting ecological advancement, what kind of wisdom and strength has the judiciary contributed? Thank you.

Tao Kaiyuan:

Ms. Yang Linping will answer this question. She's our justice and vice president of the SPC, and she is in charge of trials of cases related to the environment and natural resources.

Yang Linpin:

Regarding the judicial protection of the ecological environment, it's fair to say that ecological advancement is a major pillar of the country that is related to the people's happy life. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has promoted ecological advancement with unprecedented strength. China's eco-environmental protection has undergone historic, transformational, and overall changes, and the achievements of building a beautiful China have attracted worldwide attention. In May last year, the SPC and the United Nations Environment Programme successfully held the World Judicial Conference on Environment. In his congratulatory letter, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that China has continued to deepen the reform and innovation of environmental jurisdiction and has accumulated useful experience in judicial protection of the ecological environment. Based on their duties in hearing cases related to the environment and natural resources, the people's courts have been implementing the concept that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization has been vividly practiced in the judicial field.

First, we have heard several landmark cases and promoted the rule of law in eco-environmental protection. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, courts across the country have tried and concluded 1.929 million cases related to the environment and natural resources. Among them, there were 285,000 criminal cases, 1.284 million civil cases, and 360,000 administrative cases. We heard cases such as public interest litigation concerning the Tengger Desert pollution, in a bid to help win the battle for pollution prevention and control. We heard cases concerning preventive protection of green peacocks or illegal fishing of eel fry in the Yangtze River, and worked to promote the protection of biodiversity. We also tried cases concerning illegal sales of artifacts that can cheat annual car inspections for automobile exhaust, in an effort to help reduce pollution and carbon. Our judicial work in the environmental field has always resonated with the country's efforts to promote ecological advancement at the same frequency. With fair judgment on each case, we have been working to promote the rule of law and build a beautiful China.

Second, we have formulated and improved a series of judicial interpretations and judicial policies and weaved a dense network of judicial protection for the ecological environment. We formulated 21 judicial interpretations on the punishment of pollution crimes, forest resource protection, injunction for environmental infringement, and punitive damages, and issued 13 judicial documents, including the opinions on comprehensively strengthening judicial protection of the ecological environment in the new era and the opinions on the implementation of the Yangtze River Protection Law. We publicized 26 guiding cases. Please note that the guiding cases released by the SPC have the force of law. We also released 260 typical cases in 24 batches, which responded to the people's yearning for a better life with a blue sky, green land, and clear water. Local courts have innovatively applied judicial measures for ecological restoration. For example, violators who illegally cut down trees are required to replant more trees for re-greening in legal bargaining; fish fry are released into lakes and rivers to help restore these populations and improve the community structure of the waters; people responsible for environmental infringement are allowed to deduct the technological transformation costs from their compensation for environmental damage. In this way, local courts have built a number of ecological restoration bases based on judicial protection, in an effort to guide the public to protect the ecological environment, just like they protect their own eyes.

Third, we have deepened judicial reform and innovation regarding the environment and established an adjudication system with Chinese characteristics for cases involving the environment and resources. A total of 2,426 judicial organs for environmental and resource cases have been established by courts across the country, and courts handling environmental and resource cases have been put in place one after another in Nanjing, Lanzhou, Kunming and Zhengzhou, demonstrating that the judgment level has been advanced to a new high. The SPC and 29 higher courts exercised their three-in-one functions of criminal, civil and administrative trials related to environmental and resource cases, established a coordinated judicial mechanism of environmental cases on the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Grand Canal and other basins, ensured centralized jurisdiction of trans-regional cases based on national parks and other ecological function zones, thus significantly improving the judicial capacity of the eco-environmental conservation system.

Fourth, we have strengthened international exchanges and cooperation regarding environmental judicial issues to promote global ecological conservation. We held the World Judicial Conference on Environment, and the participating countries and international organizations reached the Kunming Declaration of the World Judicial Conference on Environment to address the three major crises in global environmental pollution, namely climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution. We hosted a number of international judicial conferences on tackling climate change and conserving biodiversity. China's judicial adjudications on environment-related cases have been included in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) database. China's concepts, systems, principles and practices on environment-related judicial issues have attracted increasing international attention, contributing Chinese wisdom and solutions to promote the development of international environmental rule of law and build a clean and beautiful world.

Thank you.

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