Feb.15, 2019 -- Procuratorates across China filed 59,312 public interest litigation cases involving natural resource or ecological protection last year, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP).
Around 2.1 million mu (140,000 hectares) of illegally occupied farmland, wetland, forest and grassland have been restored as the result of the filing of these cases, said Zhang Xueqiao, deputy procurator-general of the SPP, at a press conference Thursday.
In July 2015, the SPP began a pilot reform in 13 provincial regions, allowing procuratorates to initiate public interest litigations. The reform became a nationwide practice with revision of the civil and administrative procedure laws in 2017.
"Public interest litigation cases not only affect parties to the cases. They have far greater legal effect and social impact that may change a whole area or a sector of the society," Zhang said.
In January, the SPP, together with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and eight other government agencies, issued a guideline to further facilitate public interest litigation involving environmental protection, urging better cooperation in evidence transfer, case filing jurisdiction, evidence collection and other related issues.