The revision of the Environmental Protection Law should focus on
limiting local governments' power and protecting citizens' rights,
says a commentary in Beijing Youth Daily. An excerpt
Pan Yue, vice-minister of State Environmental Protection
Administration, stated recently that the revision of the
Environment Protection Law should focus on holding local government
responsible for environmental quality. He said that intervention by
local governments in environmental law enforcement should be
In fact, 35 motions have been put forward to the National
People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference since 2004 calling for revising the Environmental
Protection Law. They account for nearly half of the total motions
on environmental legislation. After several serious environmental
accidents in the past few years, people are now reaching consensus
on the major problems in revising the law.
Almost all serious cases of breaking environmental laws related
to local governments. Their inaction, intervention in law
enforcement and harmful decisions are the major reasons for
pollution. Therefore the revision of the Environmental Protection
Law needs to make local governments accountable for environmental
protection. The environmental laws should be more powerful in
regulating government behavior.
In addition, citizens' environmental rights should be protected.
The public should be given the right to know and supervise local
But under the current institutional framework, local people face
huge difficulties in protecting their own right to health and life.
The revision of the law should enhance citizens' rights.
By restricting local governments' power and guaranteeing
citizens' rights, the revised law will enhance our legal framework
and promote social harmony.
(China Daily March 2, 2007)