Facing huge pollution problems, China cracks down on more cases of environmental crimes

BEIJING, China – China’s environmental regulators nearly doubled the number of cases they referred to police involving suspected polluters over the first three-quarters of this year compared to all of last year, amid a larger push by the government to crack down on the country’s severe environmental problems, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday that environmental agencies also penalized about 190,000 enterprises for violating environmental laws over the past two years.

In total, Xinhua said, Chinese authorities have investigated and handed down punishments in 103,707 cases over the past two years. They issued about $633 million in fines during that period.

Xinhua said environment regulators transferred 1,232 cases involving suspected environmental crimes to police over the first three-quarters of this year, compared to 706 all of last year.

Chinese authorities are under intense pressure to clean up the country’s environment, with toxic air, water and soil pollution a main source of public discontent. President Xi Jinping has also pledged to stop the growth of the country’s carbon emissions by 2030.