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Science & Technology

Death penalty for serious polluters in China

By T.K. Randall
June 21, 2013 · Comment icon 19 comments



Image Credit: CC 2.0 Kevin Dooley
China has rolled out tough new legislation in its continuing efforts to tackle its pollution problems.
With some cities in China seeing frequent smog deemed highly harmful to humans, authorities are putting their foot down in the hopes of stemming the tide of pollution. Courts have now been given the power to hand down the death penalty in the most extreme cases while imposing harsher punishments across the board in a response to complaints over the "lax and superficial" enforcement of the country's current policies.

"With more precise criteria for convictions and sentencing, the judicial explanation provides a powerful legal weapon for law enforcement, which is expected to facilitate the work of judges and tighten punishments for polluters," the government said in a statement. "In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down."[!gad]With some cities in China seeing frequent smog deemed highly harmful to humans, authorities are putting their foot down in the hopes of stemming the tide of pollution. Courts have now been given the power to hand down the death penalty in the most extreme cases while imposing harsher punishments across the board in a response to complaints over the "lax and superficial" enforcement of the country's current policies.

"With more precise criteria for convictions and sentencing, the judicial explanation provides a powerful legal weapon for law enforcement, which is expected to facilitate the work of judges and tighten punishments for polluters," the government said in a statement. "In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down."
Chinese authorities have given courts the powers to hand down the death penalty in serious pollution cases, state media said, as the government tries to assuage growing public anger at environmental desecration.


Source: Scientific American | Comments (19)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by TheSpoonyOne 10 years ago
Utterly ridiculous.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Xanthurion2 10 years ago
Seems kind of drastic.
Comment icon #12 Posted by libstaK 10 years ago
What's the bet, the poverty stricken slum areas of China see an increase in prosecution for "polluting" for everything from overturned garbage cans/overflowing to laundry hanging about whilst the big corps continue merrily as they please?
Comment icon #13 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Death penalty for extreme cases of pollution? Seem's a bit harsh. No, ridiculous. China's government itself encouraged pollution producing factories everywhere to gain more state wealth. Now they cry foul, so as divert the blame from theirself for creating a potential major health crisis in allowing such practices(i.e. poor or non-existent Gov. environmental regulation) How can I have even one ounce of sympathy towards China's government? My sympathy is for their common citizens.
Comment icon #14 Posted by mfluder 10 years ago
And in America, you just plan to pollute and pay the fine, and work it right into the budget. While the death penalty is going too far, perhaps a nice prison term for those who give the order to destroy the environment for fun and profit? Sadly, since many of the worst offenders get presidents and members of Congress elected, I doubt we'll see any real punishment stateside.
Comment icon #15 Posted by EtherialNight 10 years ago
A massive fine might be more in line with the time in which we are living. Death penalty is a little over the top, however I'm glad the most polluted place on earth will begin cleaning up after itself.
Comment icon #16 Posted by 27vet 10 years ago
Come over to Africa and see how they are desecrating the land, we need severe penalties here too but no one cares.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Hilander 10 years ago
Does anyone remember when this one company in China was caught using lead paint on kids toys. Didn't China shoot the head of the company. I think we should go back to using returnable bottles, milk cartons, sodas, beer. We are a throw away society and that also need to change. Its not just the big companies although when they pollute they usually do a better job it and become rich doing it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Ryu 10 years ago
Sometimes I think this "death penalty" thing for polluters is simply a cheap way to dodge the bullet (no pun intended) for failing to address an issue before it became such a huge ordeal. Since some countries do not have the same environmental protections and laws, many of our companies have their operations there so they don't have to comply with pollution laws, safety laws and so on. Murdering others and claiming it to be "righteous" accomplishes nothing except to divert attentions away from the officials who apparently knew of the pollution issues but sat on their hands and when it became t... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Frank Merton 10 years ago
I have to think that executing polluters is a bit melodramatic and not really anything more than an attempt to convince people to take it seriously.


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