China prosecutors win lawsuit against environmental authority

Beijing: Prosecutors in a county in east China's Shandong province have won a lawsuit against the local environmental protection department in the first prosecutors vs. administration public interest case, according to the provincial procuratorate. The Qingyun County People's Court on Monday ruled in favour of the county's procuratorate that accused the environmental protection bureau of "illegal acts" in its relations with a local chemical firm, Xinhua news agency reported. The court said the bureau broke the law by allowing Qingshun Chemical Technology Company to start trial operations and prolong the trial period. The lawsuit came after procurators found in October 2014 that the company had produced dye without adequate environmental protection and caused pollution since August 2008. Despite residents' anger and pressure from the county government, the environmental bureau failed in its capacity of supervisor and imposed only nominal administrative punishments. After issuing two warnings in May 2014 and January 2015 that were ignored, the procurators filed the lawsuit on December 16 last year. China's top legislature in July 2015 approved a draft legal document that allowed prosecutors to institute public interest litigation in civil and administrative cases against acts that compromise public rights and interests.