Washington International Law Journal


With the majority of its freshwater sources polluted, and the pursuant incurrence of significant economic losses, and substantial health risks, China has reached a critical stage in its water resource management. Past efforts to legislate for water quality protection, although promising in content, have been less than effective. Four modes of enforcement—administrative controls, economic incentives, legal responsibility, and campaigns—have achieved only moderate success. This Comment examines the statutory and regulatory framework for water pollution control in China and suggests that if China's water pollution controls are ever to be more than mere rhetoric, China must focus on eliminating conflicts of interest amongst regulators; take an absolutist rather than economic incentive based approach to pollution control; and provide sufficient funding for remedial actions while limiting future costs through increased conservation and public participation in water resource protection.

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