China's Supreme Court and procuratorate jointly issued a new judicial explanation that imposes harsher punishments on polluters on 18 June. The new legal document, which took effect on 19 June, confronts difficulties in investigating environmental pollution cases and in convicting polluters. With more precise criteria for convictions and sentencing, the document is expected to facilitate the work of judges and tighten punishments for polluters. The document lists 14 types of activity that will be considered "crimes of impairing the protection of the environment and resources", especially including the following:

  • Discharging, dumping or treating radioactive waste or waste containing infectious disease pathogens or toxic substances into sources of drinking water and nature reserves will be seen as a crime.
  • Activities that result in pollution that forces more than 5,000 people to be evacuated or poisons more than 30 people will also be defined as crimes.
  • Those who pollute near hospitals, schools or large residential areas will be considered serious offenders.