Beginning in April, China’s Central Environmental Inspector (CEI) has unearthed a series of environmental violations that have led to over 300 million yuan in fines, while conducting inspections in Tianjin, Shanxi, Liaoning, Anhui, Fujian, Hunan and Guizhou provinces. The CEI has been conducting inspections on factories and related departments for three years now, but this particular investigation has led to severe fines and consequences due to its three-step investigative process.
The first step of the investigation was completed by May 12. It was announced that the CEI had already worked on more than 11 thousand cases of environmental violations, which amounted to over 90 million yuan in fines for more than 1500 companies and departments. 123 people were being held in conjunction with these cases and more than 1800 had been summoned to talk about the allegations. After further steps of the investigation taking place throughout May, and final cross-check investigations on May 28, the number of cases had tripled, amounting to over 35 thousand. 355 people are now being held in connection with the cases, and over 300 million yuan in fines have been issued so far.
The CEI’s investigation comes amid reports of falsified environmental assessment reports and widespread abuses. In one particular case, it was found that the Jinghai District Water Bureau in Tianjin provided unauthentic records while undergoing CEI investigations. The deputy secretary of the Bureau has been consequently been asked to leave his post.