Date: 05 Jun 2008

Review on environmental policies in China: Evolvement, features, and evaluation

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This article reviews the development of current environmental policies in China and the great progress made during 1979–2006. Applying lessons learned from industrialized countries to its own situation, China’s environmental policies have the following main features: (1) to explore command and control measures to their fullest extent, (2) to strive to raise funding for environmental protection, (3) to identify who should take accountability for environmental protection; (4) to encourage strategies of “combination of prevention and control” and “integrated utilization”, (5) to embrace openness in the field of environmental policy and early international cooperation. During the past 30 years, China’s environmental policies have evolved and deepened: status expanded the national basic policies of environmental protection by adding a sustainable development strategy, focus changed from pollution control to a combination of pollution control and ecological protection, method changed from end control to source control, scope changed form point source control to watershed and territory pollution control, and management style changed from primarily using executive power to using legal and economic measures. This article introduces how they are evaluated by the international community and provides the prospects of the policies.