Is China at the forefront in the protection of the environment?

It is commonly acknowledged that environmental protection directly benefits the country's well-being. Currently, China has developed a system of judicial remedies for environmental disputes that connects administrative litigation, criminal litigation, and civil litigation. More specifically, environmental law protection in China is undergoing some major tendencies. Two of them need to be highlighted. One of them is the establishing of trial divisions for deciding environmental cases – an experiment that finds its roots in the need to assuring the most intense professionalization possible of judges in deciding highly-complex cases. This experiment was initially led by the Intermediate People’s Court in Guiyang City; then Yixing District, Jiangyin District, Binhu District, Xishan District, Huishan District, and many others followed this example. On another note, we should emphasize the importance and the deep “political” significance of China’s Environmental Public Interest Litigation (P.I.L., established by art. 108 of China’s civil procedural code), a system that is based on the American model of Public Law Litigation but that has gained specific characteristics. We should conclude that China, despite its environmental issues, is somehow at the forefront in judicial protection of the environment. Notwithstanding the many progresses made, there is ample room for improvement. Overall, it is submitted that China should pay more attention to improving the connections between relevant legislation on judicial relieves for environmental damages and, at the same time, raise the professional competence of judges on hearing environmental disputes. This could be done, for example, by centralizing training and further opening its market to foreigner environmental law professionals.