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Laws, Policies, & Guidelines

Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China

Scope of Application

Enforceable plans and legal provisions for companies that discharge pollutants and administrative departments, at or above the county level, that supervise and manage environmental protection in areas under the Chinese Government’s jurisdiction.


Offers legal measures to protect and improve the environment, reduce pollution, and safeguard human health and safety (H&S).

General Key Points

Chinese Environmental Protection Departments, Developers, and Contractors should: 

  • Categorize the environment as including the atmosphere, water, seas, land, minerals, forests, wildlife, natural and human remains, nature reserves, historic sites, scenic spots, and urban and rural areas.


Chinese Environmental Protection Departments should: 

  • Improve environmental quality in areas under their jurisdiction.
  • Proactively protect rare ecological regions, regions with endangered species, and regions of scientific and cultural value.
    • Not approve projects that emit pollutants within these regions.
    • Not allow existing projects to emit more pollution than prescribed standards.


Developers and Contractors should: 

  • Pay, and assume responsibility, for controlling the pollution over national or local discharge standards. 
  • Utilize resources effectively, including technology to minimize waste and treat pollutants.
Key Points on Stakeholder Engagement

Developers and Contractors should: 

  • Report to and register with the relevant authorities.
Key Points on Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

Chinese Environmental Protection Departments should: 

  • Establish and design a monitoring system and network to strengthen the management of environmental monitoring. 
  • Investigate the environmental situation within their jurisdiction.
    • Prepare plans to protect the environment.
  • Conduct on-site inspections of polluting infrastructure. 
  • Only allow a construction project to be commissioned or used once pollution prevention or control measures meet standards set by the department that approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA).


Developers and Contractors should: 

  • Prepare EIAs that cover the volume of pollution that each project could produce, potential environmental impacts, and mitigation measures.
    • Submit EIAs to Chinese environmental protection departments for approval. Their approval is required before the department of planning can ratify design plans.
  • Incorporate environmental protection measures into their plans, establish a responsibility system for environmental protection, and adopt pollution control measures. 
Applies to
December 1989
Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
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