On the Protection of Environmental Rights of Minority Ethnic Groups in China
September 28,2016   By:chinahumanrights.org
Guliazhati·Tuerxun (photo: Zhao Yifan)

On the Protection of Environmental Rights ofMinority Ethnic Groups in China

Professor of Xinjiang University
Abstract: The legal system of the preservation and protection of the ecosystem of ethnic groups in China concerns five levels. The first one is the stipulation and regulations about ecosystem and resources in Constitution of the People's Republic of China; the second one is the laws of environmental protection; the third one is the statutes and regulations relevant to the protection of ecosystem and resources; the fourth one is the rules of the protection of environmental rights stipulated in law branch; the fifth one is the regional regulations of environmental protection in minority areas. In this way, China has formed a relatively comprehensive legal system of securing Environmental Rights of Ethnic Groups, with Constitution at the core, Environmental Protection Law being the basic law, relevant laws, regulations and decrees being the main content, and regional regulations being the supplement.  
Although the legal system mentioned above has exerted certain positive influence on securing the environmental rights of ethnic groups in China, some problems still cannot be ignored due to the lack of specific rules of the protection of environmental rights in the mechanism, barriers to implementation and blind goals of economic development. The existing problems are specifically listed as follows. First, some minorities have exploited the resources to a destructive degree because of poverty and over-independence on ecosystem. Second, the administrative mechanism of preserving and protecting ecosystem is lagging behind, which makes it difficult to deal with the problems in the course of economic development. Third, the effective protection of environmental rights of minorities is held back by some conflicting regulations between ecological protection laws and environmental protection laws, as well as the weak regional promotion of the rule of law.
The following are the suggestions for further securing environmental rights of ethnic groups. First, we should promote the traditional ecological value of minorities to urge them to make a contribution. Second, we should improve the administration and governance of the department of environmental protection, and especially further clarify the duties, obligations and rights of relevant departments. At the same time, the intervention of the resource department in the management of the environmental department should be weakened. Third, we should enhance education of the environmental law enforcement personnel and professional personnel in minority areas, so as to strengthen the enforcement efficiency.
Key words: China, ethnic groups, environmental rights 
Guliazhati·Tuerxun, Professor, Xinjiang University.