Polluters in China could soon face the death penalty after the authorities stepped up the courts’ powers to punish firms who carry out grievous environmental crimes.
A judicial clarification took effect this week guaranteeing the enforcement of environment-related laws and regulations “which have long been lax and superficial in China,” the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The move is a “powerful legal weapon” for enforcing protection, the report said.
“In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down,” it added. The death penalty is usually imposed for corruption and other economic crimes.
Public anger is rising over the country’s appalling environmental record. The cities are choking with smog and factories have done serious damage to the country’s rivers.
“The watchdog will strengthen monitoring measures, especially on enterprises that are located in environmentally-sensitive areas where major pollution accidents have happened,” the statement said.