Stay Tuned! Changzhou Toxic Land Case Will be Heard by China Supreme People's Court on August 18!
2022/8/17 15:18:00 本站

The incident dates back to 2015, the land involved in the case was originally the factory area of three chemical enterprises (Jiangsu Changlong Chemical Co., Ltd, Changzhou Changyu Chemical Co., Ltd and Jiangsu Huada Chemical Group Co., Ltd), and after the relocation of the enterprises, the land was taken back and then later granted to real estate developers. However, when the local government commissioned relevant environmental protection enterprises to carry out environmental restoration, the restoration enterprises did not strictly follow the construction of the EIA report, resulting in the leakage of toxic gas from chemical waste. The incident has been made public only when the students of the adjacent Changzhou Foreign Language School had frequent health problems and parents went around for help. Thereafter, the developer rescinded the agreement and the plot of land in question was turned into a public green space.


Official Reports by CCTV


Pic Source: China Daily


Pic Source: Sixtone's report in 2016 on Changzhou Toxic Land environmental public interest lawsuit co-filed by CBCGDF

In early 2016, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) and Friends of Nature filed an environmental civil public interest lawsuit with the Changzhou Intermediate People's Court against the three former chemical companies on the site in question. In early 2017, the Changzhou Intermediate Court ruled to reject all of the social organizations' claims and ruled that the two social organizations shall bear the litigation costs of more than 1.89 million yuan. The sky-high litigation costs caused a huge outcry at the time and were reported by various mainstream media. No one could have imagined that social organizations dedicated to environmental protection would have to pay such a huge price for defending public environmental interests. Both social organizations argued that the Changzhou Intermediate People's Court misinterpreted and applied the MEP 48 document, and appealed to the Jiangsu High People's Court respectively.

In February 2017, the Jiangsu High People's Court accepted the case. At the end of 2018, the court of second instance held that the three chemical enterprises were responsible for the environmental pollution of the site in question and required them to bear legal responsibility. The Jiangsu High People's Court ruled that the three chemical companies should make apologies to the public, bear the attorney's fees and case acceptance fee of 200 yuan (100 yuan each for the first and second trials), and rejected the other litigation requests of the social organizations.

The bizarre part of the second trial is that the Jiangsu High People's Court held that the three chemical companies should bear the legal responsibility for polluting the environment, but were not required to bear the high cost of environmental treatment and restoration.

In early 2019, CBCGDF submitted an application for retrial to the Supreme People's Court, clearly pointing out that both the first and second trials failed to investigate the important facts of the case, such as: the pollution situation and the division of responsibility for the treatment of the land in question at the time of storage was unclear; the so-called repeated treatment and restoration by the local government were all emergency disposals and did not routinely treat the land in question; the first and second trials were obviously wrong in applying the law, pointing out that the chemical enterprises were responsible for the pollution, but then saying that the government was responsible for the pollution restoration costs, which exempted the polluter from liability.

The “Changzhou Toxic Land Case” has taken many twists and turns, and ironically the ruling by the Jiangsu High People's Court that the government shall bear the responsibility for ecological restoration for the polluters has been called a “smart verdict”.

On August 18, 2022, the Supreme People's Court will hold a formal hearing for a third trial, so stay tuned! Whoever pollutes bears the responsibility. Sincerely hoping that the Supreme People's Court could correct the mistakes of the first and second trials and make the polluter bear the legal responsibility of environmental damage compensation.


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Original Chinese Article:

Translator: Samantha

Check by: Maggie

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