[JURIST] The director of Chinas State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) [official website, Chinese; English] claimed Tuesday in an official report that corruption on the part of local government leaders has contributed to the rampant pollution [JURIST news archive] found in many of Chinas cities. SEPA Director Zhou Shengxian [official backgrounder, in English] told the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress [official profile, English] that through threats of retaliatory measures against environmental officers, local leaders are able to avoid the enforcement of environmental laws [China Daily report].
After years of rapid economic growth, Chinas heavily industrialized cities have become among the smoggiest in the world, while the government has reported that millions lack access to clean water, as all major rivers are heavily polluted. In the meantime the government has begun waging an aggressive campaign against corruption [JURIST news archive] on several different legal and political fronts. AP has more.