A new judicial explanation took effect on Wednesday guaranteeing the enforcement of environment-related laws and regulations, which has long been lax and superficial in China.
The country's supreme court and procuratorate jointly issued the new judicial explanation on Tuesday that imposes harsher punishments on polluters. In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down.
The police will not only seriously crack down on crimes of environmental pollution, but also ensure the rights of relevant law enforcement officers, according to a statement jointly issued by the supreme court and procuratorate and the ministries of public security and environmental protection.
With more precise criteria for convictions and sentencing, the judicial explanation provides "a powerful legal weapon" for law enforcement, which is expected to facilitate the work of judges and tighten punishments for polluters, the statement said.
The new legal document confronts difficulties in investigating environmental pollution cases and in convicting polluters.
It is expected to resolve problems of acquiring and identifying evidence for environmental pollution crimes, it said, adding that the police will closely cooperate with environmental protection agencies.
The environmental watchdog will strengthen monitoring measures, especially on enterprises that previously used toxic substances and discharged dangerous waste, or are located in environmentally-sensitive areas where major environmental pollution accidents have happened over the past one or two years, the statement said.
The environment watchdog's daily monitoring and analysis data should be provided to judicial departments, it said.
"All force should be mobilized to timely uncover law-breaking clues of environmental pollution," it said, adding technological means and whistleblowers are encouraged.