On Environmental Public Interest Litigation: CBCGDF LWC Answers Media Interview
2023/5/6 13:35:00 本站

On May 6, 2023, a reporter from China Philanthropist asked: What is the data on Environmental Public Interest Litigations (EPIL) by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) in recent years? -For example, how many EPILs has CBCGDF initiated? What were the results? What progress has been made and what environmental issues have been improved?

 

The answers from the Law Working Committee of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation are as follows:

 

1) the total number of environmental public interest litigation cases initiated by the China Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development is 150+.

2) 12 EPIL cases have been selected as "typical cases" issued by the Supreme People's Court of China.

3) 3 EPIL cases have been selected as "Guidance Cases" issued by the Supreme People's Court of China.

4) These EPILs have had a wide range of social impacts and environmental improvements. Basically, each case will be reflected, including but not limited to:


(a) The "Tengger Desert Pollution Public Interest Litigation" case, which resolved the issue of whether a Chinese social organization is eligible to be the plaintiff in environmental public interest litigation, and advanced the repairment of the pollution problem involved in the case;


[reference]

NGOs await top court ruling that may allow them to sue more easily((2015.12)

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/959548.shtml

China Daily: NGO sues polluting companies for repair of damage 2015.8.20

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2015-08/20/content_21655943.htm

Xinhua: China's desert pollution case settled by mediation (2017.8)

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-08/28/c_136562563.htm

Tengger case shows even big firms can't escape penalty for polluting (2017.8.30)

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2017-08/30/content_31304856.htm

 A Key Victory for Citizen Suits in China (2018.3.26)

https://www.eli.org/vibrant-environment-blog/key-victory-citizen-suits-china

 

(b) The "Toxic Plastic Playground Public Interest Litigation" case solved the problem of toxic plastic runway pollution in Chinese schools, and led to the revision of the national standard for plastic runways, which promoted a change in the trend of using plastic equipment in Chinese schools in favor of more "nature-based solutions" (NbS);

 

[reference]

Children Sick From Another Toxic Running Track, Say Parents (2017.9.20)

http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1000881/children-sick-from-another-toxic-running-track%2C-say-parents

ELI: A Win for Kids and the Environment in China (2017.5.15)

https://www.eli.org/vibrant-environment-blog/win-kids-and-environment-china

People's Daily: After legal mediation, Beijing kindergarten to remove synthetic running tracks (2017.4.12)

https://www.ecns.cn/2017/04-12/252973.shtml

XINHUA: Landmark environmental group legal victory over toxic school tracks (2017.4.11)

http://chinaplus.cri.cn/news/china/9/20170411/2806.html


(c) The case of EPIL against Massive Hunting Earthworms via Electronic Machines led to a breakthrough in judicial practice for biodiversity conservation in China. Previously, biodiversity cosnervation is mainly interpreted as "protecting endangered and rare species". But earthworms are not listed in any protected species' catalogue. The rampant phenomonen of hunting earthworms to make money through traditional medicine market has caused serious impacts to environment. In some places of Hainan Province, according to local farmers, there were even "locally near-extinction of earthworms" brought by the massive hunting. The EPIL case against Massive Hunting Earthworms via Electronic Machines has led to a breakthrough in China's judicial practice of biodiversity conservation, which demostrates China's strong enforcement to its commitment on conservation (esp. in the year of CBD COP15). Moreover, in the Central Document No. 1 of 2023, there is a clear requirement to strictly "crack down on electrofishing of earthworms".

 

[references]

https://m.thepaper.cn/baijiahao_8595435

https://weekly.caixin.com/2022-05-07/101881518.html

http://www.cbcgdf.org/NewsShow/4856/20193.html

http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/2022-09/13/content_5709593.htm

http://www.cbcgdf.org/NewsShow/4854/22585.html

https://weibo.com/5327744144/Lt8ajC932

https://m.gmw.cn/baijia/2020-06/14/1301287262.html

https://www.scimall.org.cn/article/detail?id=4763327

 

(d) The "mooncake over-packaging public interest litigation" has led to the revision of Chinese national standards on mooncake packaging. China's excessive packaging of mooncakes and other food products has long been a big problem, and even the visually obvious over-packaged mooncake gift boxes are not regarded as "over-packaged" according to the previous national standard of "mooncakes". Because these national standards were developed by interest groups (manufacturers) in the past, there was a lack of public interests. This environmental public interest lawsuit made it necessary to redo the national standards on mooncakes and excessive packaging, which had already been published, with separate amendments to regulate the content;

 

[reference]

https://epaper.gmw.cn/gmrb/html/2020-09/30/nw.D110000gmrb_20200930_6-02.htm

 

(e) The "Changzhou Toxic Land" case, which caused health problems for hundreds of high-school students and teachers: After the CBCGDF co-filed the "Changzhou Toxic Land Public Interest Litigation", it experienced a major setback and was promptly downgraded to 2A by the Ministry of Civil Affairs one month later. However, the lawsuit prompted the introduction of the Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law and other relevant laws and regulations in China, which clarified the basic legal principles of land pollution management.

 

[more info]

https://www.cenews.com.cn/news.html?aid=998358

Chinese NGO to raise money after lawsuit failure against chemical plants (2017.2.7)

http://english.cri.cn/12394/2017/02/07/3941s951362.htm

Chinese Ruling Threatens Environmental Public Interest Suits (2017.2)

https://www.bna.com/chinese-ruling-threatens-n57982084400/

NGOs lose lawsuit against polluting chemical plants

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/01/27/ngos-lose-lawsuit-polluting-chemical-plants-allegedly-responsible-sick-children-prestigious-changzhou-school/

Changzhou school pollution case strikes chord across China (2016.4.29)

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/979174.shtml

Changzhou pollution scandal highlights holes in China’s environmental enforcement (2016.4.29)

https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/8892-Changzhou-pollution-scandal-highlights-holes-in-China-s-environmental-enforcement

School in China Near Closed Plants Has 500 Sick Kids (2016.4.18)

https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-04-18/changzhou-china-school-has-500-sick-kids-due-to-toxins-report-says

Chinese NGOs pay whopping legal fee after failed lawsuit against polluting enterprises (2017.2.17)

http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0208/c90000-9175499.html

 

Translator: Elllean

EditorYJ

Contact: V10@cbcgdf.org; +8617319454776

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