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Crackdown on environmental offenses

BEIJING: Chinese procuratorates have stepped up efforts to punish offenders polluting the environment along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) announced Tuesday. Prosecutors in 11 provincial regions along the economic belt filed charges against 22,310 people for suspected crimes involving destroying environmental resources in 2019, up over 20 percent year on year, said Zhang Xueqiao, deputy procurator-general of the SPP, at a press conference. Meanwhile, they approved the arrests of 7,084 suspects involved in such cases, an increase of 43 percent from the previous year, according to figures from a white paper on ensuring the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt released by the SPP Tuesday. Zhang said, citing the document, that 11 provincial procuratorial organs along the economic belt filed 30,212 cases infringing on the public interest related to the environment and resources in 2019. Official statistics also show that litigation helped deal with a total of 114,400 mu (about 7,627 hectares) of forests, farmland, wetland and grassland that had been polluted or illegally occupied. Prosecutors in the economic belt region helped remove hidden dangers and eliminate pollution across over 1.31 million mu of water source regions, and nearly 3,500 enterprises and farms, which cause pollution, were improved and rectified through filing cases, according to the white paper. The white paper also pointed out the shortcomings of procurators in safeguarding the development of the economic belt region, including the decentralized competency in environmental protection of procuratorial organs and the unresolved institutional obstacles of transregional case handling. The white paper, the first issued by the SPP, aims to make the public realize that the situation of environmental protection remains grim along the Yangtze River, Zhang said. – The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item

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