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Environmental Criminal Law in China: A Critical Analysis

January 2011

Citation: 41 ELR 10024

Issue: 1

Author: Michael G. Faure and Hao Zhang

Recent literature describing how criminal law should ideally be shaped to play its crucial role in environmental governance holds that a combination of provisions should be utilized in order to enforce not only violations of administrative norms, but also unlawful emissions. To date, environmental criminal law in China is the result of norms to be found in a wide range of provisions and statutes covering a large number of crimes. The formulation of these norms is in some cases not very precise or clear. This piecemeal system naturally leaves gaps and weaknesses in Chinese environmental criminal law, creating a real need for a comprehensive law to enforce environmental protection.

Michael G. Faure  is Visiting International Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Professor of Comparative and International Environmental Law, Maastricht University (NL) and Professor of Comparative Private Law and Economics, Erasmus School of Law (NL). Hao Zhang was, at the time of writing this Article, a student at the Graduate School of Beijing Forestry University in China and is currently a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law and Asian Law Centre of the Melbourne Law School of the University of Melbourne in Australia.

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