“Manual for Law-Based Environmental Advocacy in China”

Days of haze over Beijing have made technical terms such as PM2.5 popular topics on Chinese microblogs. And with environment-related incidents happening frequently, many people want to know more about these matters and become personally involved. The compilers of the Manual for Law-Based Environmental Advocacy in China hope to use their years of experience to help the public in a systematic way.

Advocacy makes directed proposals or suggestions, and this book describes how to guide public supervision and demands in environmental matters. It combines exposition, case analysis and legal background, bringing together information about government, NGOs, academic institutions and the media to explain the process of environmental advocacy.

For example, the section on direct assistance explains the importance of this type of action and puts forward funding and legal ideas, using as a case study a Green Hanjiang project assisting villagers near the Tangbai River – a Han tributary – to drill wells.

The book includes ample legal information for the reader’s benefit. The authors repeatedly stress that legal frameworks must be relied upon, judicial processes applied, and the public mobilised systematically. Each section of the manual ends with legal comment. The sixth chapter explains the safeguards for the protection of environmental rights, including how the public can – legally and effectively – organise and participate in advocacy events.

Ma Tiannan, the book’s chief editor, heads the Xiamen Green Cross volunteer centre. She produced this volume to present cases she has experienced, to inform the public about the difficult existence of Chinese NGOs, and to tell both NGOs and individuals how to operate. Through this manual, readers can see the efforts and persistence of one environmentalist who has long thrown herself into the cause.

Manual for Law-Based Environmental Advocacy in China
Ma Tiannan (chief editor)
Intellectual Property Publishing House, 2011

By Li Cheng 

Li Cheng is an intern in
chinadialogue’s Beijing office