Death to polluters?

China adopts harsh penalties for serious cases of environmental pollution

Serious environmental crimes in China are now punishable by death.

Chinese-government officials have responded to growing public outcry over environmental degradation with a new judicial interpretation, made official June 19, that enacts much harsher penalties for serious pollution cases, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The new guidelines will guarantee “the enforcement of environment-related laws and regulations” which have “long been lax and superficial in China,” and provide “more precise criteria for convictions and sentencing,” Xinhua reported. “In the most serious cases, the death penalty could be handed down.”

Beijing’s horrendous smog problem made international headlines in January when the Communist Party temporarily shut down more than 100 factories and ordered one-third of government vehicles off the streets.