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Ben Boer, Benoit Mayer and Tianbao Qin

Benoit MAYER, Ben BOER and Tianbao QIN

Richard Zhang and Benoit Mayer


Since January 2015, China’s Environmental Protection Law has allowed Chinese Non- Government Organisations to initiate public interest litigation in relation to activities that harm the environment. This article assesses the implementation of this reform. Based on a variety of primary and secondary sources, it documents almost every case filed in the first two-and-a-half years of the implementation of public interest environmental litigation in China. It demonstrates a rapid development of this new field of litigation which, so far, has almost systematically led to Court decisions favourable to the plaintiffs. Yet, we also recognize some limitations and room for improvement, in particular regarding barriers to access to courts and questions of enforcement of judgments. Therefore, while public interest environmental litigation is a promising opportunity for the protection of the environment in China, some possible refinements of the relevant statutory framework can be identified.