Green litigation in China today

For those interested in the state of environmental litigation in China, China Dialogue, a bilingual site on China’s environment, ran an excellent series of articles last month on the topic.  I opened the series with an article entitled “Green litigation in China today.”  Here is an excerpt.

Environmental litigation is difficult business in China. Even as the country enters its 12th Five-Year Plan period, with perhaps the most extensive set of top-down environmental and energy policies and targets it has ever announced, the space for bottom-up public supervision, particularly through the use of law and the courts, has in recent years been constrained.

There has been some progress in the development of tools that create greater transparency and accountability in environmental laws and policies. There have been modest, but important, improvements in government and corporate disclosure of environmental information in recent years. A small cadre of dedicated and increasingly sophisticated Chinese and international environmental groups and journalists continue to highlight China’s environmental problems and search for possible solutions.

But high hopes that lawyers and legal experts could harness the law to bring about positive environmental change have been tempered. As one leading environmental lawyer told me, “we must lower our expectations.”

The other articles in the series include:

1. “Plight of the public: citizen participation in China” Part I and Part II – by lawyer Zhang Jingjing, one of the most important environmental lawyers in China today (and a former colleague).

2. “Shaping China’s green laws” – by Charles McElwee, author of Environmental Law in China.  He used to write the excellent www.chinaenvironmentallaw.com blog.

3. “Seeking damages” – an interview with former China environmental official Zhang Kunmin.

4. “Legal lessons from America” – by Alex Levinson and Kristen McDonald of Pacific Environment.

5. “Losses at sea” – by Xia Jun, another terrific Chinese environmental lawyer has consistently stood up for the dispossessed.

6. “Eight cases that mattered” – a summary of eight Chinese environmental cases.

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