China bolsters Environment Ministry

Photo: Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment, China.

Reforms strengthen role of China’s Environment Ministry.

China Dialogue reports that on 12 October, 2023 a notice was issued outlining changes to the responsibilities of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE).

The central role of the MEE appears to have been strengthened with the Ministry of Science and Technology’s role in organising policies to promote ecological and environmental development through science and tech being transferred to the MEE.

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei air pollution prevention and control leading group is to be closed, as strengthened governance measures and regional coordination mechanisms have now been established, and the MEE’s Atmospheric Environment Department will take over regional coordination.

Also, the MEE bureau in charge of coordinating environmental protection has had its responsibilities modified from undertaking “the daily work of the State Council’s Leading Group” to undertaking “the specific affairs of the Central Leading Group”. 

On this last point, Chen Haisong, a professor at Wuhan University’s Institute of Environmental Law, said the change placed greater emphasis on the Party Central Committee’s leadership (as opposed to government body the State Council) over the bureau’s work. It can be understood as “the Party manages supervision work”.

SourceChina Dialogue, October 19, 2023.