tuesday, 28 october of 2014

China and the environment: what steps is the government taking to improve the situation?

Jayme Vita Roso

China is criticized by the global media as one of the most polluted countries in the world. The country is unfamiliar or perhaps unwilling to learn about how to make things better and mitigate the effects of environmental degradation. There is a very carefully laid out legal framework, known as the Chinese Environmental Protection Law (EPL), that does exist, though some authorities consider it to be incomplete, with mistakes and shortcomings in its implementation. Everyone knows that most of its main points must be revised, improved or even completely changed. This must be done carefully, through studies and tests that are being performed, because it will impact the rapid growth of its economy, and the possible effects on the economy have not been fully studied.

There must also be a reflection on how the changes will be carried out, given the complexity of the Chinese political system. The National People's Congress (NPC), the country's largest legislative authority, creates the scripts and guidelines that regulate economic/political attitudes and behaviors. Three years ago a tentative agenda was drafted for this purpose. Fearing macroeconomic impacts, the draft outlines measures that can be implemented in a reasonable amount of time, without delays and conflicts with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).

Legislators have been working strongly since 2011, helping along decisions that have arrived at the National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCC), with a goal that surprised Western analysts: China plans on creating an "Ecological Civilization" for its citizens. What is this proposal? The plan is to restructure the economy to integrate humans into nature, creating harmony between production and consumption, including the CPC in its Constitution. This drastic and surprising decision brings about strict governance for the implementation of environmental law, transforming it into a constitutional norm to be ratified and solidified by the authorities to put the right to protect the environment into effect, supporting the development of a global plan in the country and its natural consequences with the international community.

Though the EPL has not been approved by the NCCC (as of March 2013), the debates have continued with the persistence and seriousness of the stubborn Chinese people as they deal with topics that are transcendental to the future of the country, since revising the text of the EPL will allow authorities to promote a true ecological civilization through the appropriate means in the legal system, and with the required popular participation through practical suggestions, as they are prepared and know how to do it.

We hope that this real solution will take place for the good of the people of China and the world.


* Jayme Vita Roso is a lawyer and founder of Auditoria Jurídica.







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