The front page of the Beijing Times 京华时报 reports today that the ministries of Environmental Protection and Public Security will in future cooperate on a national level in prosecuting criminal cases of severe environmental pollution, and will share information on suspected criminals.
At a joint press conference yesterday the two ministries released a document entitled Ideas on the Strengthening of Interaction Between Environmental Protection and Public Security Enforcement (关于加强环境保护与公安部门执法衔接配合工作的意见). Ministry of Environmental Protection spokesperson, Tao Detian 陶德田, remarked,
For a long time now already, the field of environmental protection has been plagued by the complexities of high costs to obey the law, low costs to break the law, and great difficulty in enforcing the law.
Regional departments of the two ministries have cooperated in the past, but the fact that the environmental protection ministry has clearly lacked teeth in enforcing the law has now prompted more comprehensive cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security. Henceforth, the Ministry of Environmental Protection will be able to transfer cases of criminal investigation to the Ministry of Public Security for further prosecution.
The article also relates statistics released by the two ministries. Since June this year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has in total forwarded nearly 300 criminal cases — with content stretching back almost five years — related to environmental protection to the Ministry of Public Security. Since June the Ministry of Public Security prosecuted 667 cases of environmental pollution. 525 of these cases have already been resolved: criminal charges were brought in 145 cases, 1,047 people have been arrested, 708 people have been punished, and 235 people have been authorized for arrest.
Elsewhere on the front page of today’s Beijing Times, the newspaper reports that, following preliminary trials for drawing up its annual budget for 2014, the city government of Beijing plans to ensure that expenditure on the so-called ‘three public expenses’ (San gong xiaofei 三公消费), i.e. officials spending government money on travel, buying cars and entertaining guests, will not increase next year.
The main image on the front page is capture of a sort of traffic accident that occurred yesterday in Beijing where a foreigner hit a pedestrian with his motorcycle. The incident was one of the most discussed subejcts on Chinese social media today; see Beijing Foreigner Extorted After Running Into Chinese Woman? for more.