The rising numbers of environmental protests in the past few years reflect the difficulties China is encountering during its period of reform.
On 25th April 2014, the Chinese government passed the revision of the Environmental Protection Law which will come into effect on 1st January 2015. Along with new regulations concerning environmental impact assessments and companies’ requirements on reporting and accounting, the new law also includes a chapter on public participation with new regulations on information disclosure and class actions.
As the conclusion to its research on new media and public participation, a working group of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) has put forward recommendations to the China State Council about an improved legal system for public participation with according laws and regulations. On this occasion, representatives of the Government of Hebei Province approached the Center for Environmental Education and Communications (CEEC) asking to get involved in a pilot study for the formulation of a regulation concerning public participation in environmental protection. In January 2014 the Standing Committee of Hebei Province National People’s Congress included the formulation of this regulation as one of its work and law planning targets for 2014. Hebei, together with Beijing and Tianjin, is one of China’s three key regions which urgently need to decrease their energy consumption, cut emissions and strengthen environmental protection.
Sino-German Environmental Partnership
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) the Sino-German Environmental Partnership project supports CEEC in formulating the Hebei Regulation on Public Participation in Environmental Protection. GIZ provides German and Chinese experts whose professional and legal background in the field of public participation and the related legislation enables them to actively contribute in formulating the regulation and push the process by providing best practices and lessons learnt.
As a result of this process, MEE has decided to start drafting Measures of Public Participation in Environmental Protection that shall be applied nationwide.