China has introduced “harsher punishments” for breaking the nation’s environmental protection laws: reckless violators of pollution standards in the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economy now face execution.
A new judicial interpretation taking effect on Wednesday has tightened Chinese “lax and superficial “enforcement of environmental protection laws, Xinhua reported citing a government statement.
The government is set to introduce a “precise criteria for convictions and sentencing” while the “judicial explanation provides a powerful legal weapon.” Law enforcement should take environmental regulations seriously and “all force should be mobilized to uncover law-breaking clues of environmental pollution in a timely way,” the statement reads
In winter of 2013 Beijing was experiencing the worst environmental data on record. Levels of dangerous particles less than 2.5 micrometres across, known as PM2.5s, were 22 times what the World Health Organization considers safe. In response to the widespread public anger, authorities introduced emergency measures to thin traffic and shut down polluting industries. Rallies also erupted in May in the city of Kunming as thousands flooded the streets to protest against the planned production of a chemical at a refinery.
Problems related to pollution are also reaching China’s vast countryside, the Ministry of Environmental Protection acknowledged early June.