On December 23, 2016, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate have jointly issued the Interpretations on Certain Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases of Environmental Pollution (the "Interpretations"), which shall take effect on January 1, 2017. 

The Interpretations, based on the clear definition of "serious pollution of the environment", further specify that, whoever fails any of four circumstances such as "an enterprise with an operating permit for hazardous waste, in violation of State regulations, discharges, dumps, or disposes radioactive waste, waste containing infectious diseases pathogens, toxic materials or other harmful substances" shall be given a heavier punishment. According to the Interpretations, whoever, knowing that another person has no operating permit for hazardous waste, provides it or entrusts it to collect, store, utilize or dispose of hazardous waste, thereby causing severe environmental pollution, shall be punished as an accomplice to the crime. The Interpretations provide that the amount of hazardous waste can be identified by comprehensively taking into account the statements of the defendant, the production process, material consumption and energy consumption of the enterprise involved, as well as the environmental impact assessment document filed for approval or record, and other evidence.