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Dr. Lin Xiaoxiao Interprets the Provisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on the Supervision over the Work of Ecological and Environmental Protection in an Interview by 21st Century Business Herald

On June 17, 2019, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the Provisions on the Supervision over the Work of Ecological and Environmental Protection, which provides for routine supervision by a specially-established organ over the work of ecological and environmental protection of Party committees and governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, departments under the State Council and enterprises directly under the Central Government.

Recently, Dr. Lin Xiaoxiao, an assistant research fellow at the Ecological Law Department of CASS Law Institute, was interviewed by the newspaper 21st Century Business Herald on the interpretation of the Provisions. In the interview, Dr. Lin pointed out that as far as the nature of the Provisions is concerned, it belongs to a category of normative documents with legal effect lower than that of laws, administrative regulations, local regulations and departmental rules. However, the ingenuity of the Provisions lies in the fact that it does not create legal responsibilities, but fully utilize the existing legal resources, including laws, administrative regulations and intra-Party regulations, to supervise the law-enforcement work of local governments and departments under them, and to identify and deal with violations of environmental law. It serves as a catalyst in the environmental legal system that effective vitalizes the responsibility system in the existing legal resources and regulates social behavior. In fact, the Environmental Protection Law has given environmental protection departments sufficient and clear authorization to carry out on-site inspections. However, because of local political ecology and the lack of law enforcement personnel, it is very difficult for local, especially grassroots, environmental protection departments to carry out environmental risk screening and early-warming work. At the next stage, China should remove various legal and practical obstacles to law enforcement, so as to give full play to the functions of environmental protection organs and realize the normalization of supervision over environmental law enforcement.