China and International Environmental Liability

China and International Environmental Liability

Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying

This book considers the ways in which transboundary environmental pollution can be remedied through a variety of legal instruments. Particular attention is paid to the pollution of the Songhua river in China, but legal remedies to transboundary pollution are also discussed in a broader context.

Chapter 9: Transboundary Environmental Crimes: An Analysis of Chinese and European Law

Thomas Richter

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, asian law, environmental law


Thomas Richter 1 INTRODUCTION Transnational crime is not a new phenomenon of modern times. Historic examples refer to piracy, slavery and (opium) smuggling.1 However, the field of cross-border criminal activities seems to have broadened over the centuries and especially in the last decades. In 1994, the United Nations defined 18 categories of transnational crimes, including environmental crimes.2 Usually, transnational crimes are defined as an activity that is considered a criminal offence by at least two countries.3 As we will see later, in the case of environmental offences, it might be sufficient that at least in one country the activities damaging the environment are regarded as criminal acts. Transboundary environmental damages are injuries which are caused within the territory of one country or province and which have damaging effects within the territory of another country or province. Pollution is sometimes transported even by nature itself, for example, wind, rivers or groundwater. Some threats are global, such as emission of certain gases destroying the ozone layer or (co-)producing global warming. Global environmental damage is not as new as we often think. For instance, the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons reached its highest level in the 1950s. Fear of radioactive fallout became the most prominent international environmental issue after World War II.4 Environmental protection is usually divided into a section of protection of natural resources and another section of prevention and control of pollution. As natural resources tend to be non-moving, certainly with the 1 2...

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