China clarifies environmental crimes in new judicial interpretation

(     Updated : 2023-08-10

China's top judicial authorities have issued a new judicial interpretation to clarify some behaviors that damage the environment and should be held criminal liabilities.

The interpretation, which was jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, will come into effect on Tuesday, the first National Ecology Day.

One of the key provisions of the interpretation is that those responsible for environmental monitoring, greenhouse gas emission inspection or environmental report formulation in enterprises will be given a prison term of not more than five years, short-term custody or a fine if they deliberately provide false documents.

If the false documents help the enterprises to gain more than 300,000 yuan ($41,630) in illegal profits, they will be identified as a "serious circumstance", meaning they could face a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.

The interpretation also clarifies that those who order others to modify environmental monitoring data should be identified as the crime of sabotaging computer systems.

China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, designated Aug 15 as National Ecology Day at the end of June. The move is part of the country's efforts to enhance environmental conservation and build an ecological civilization.