An article titled “A Paper Tiger? Prosecutorial Regulators in China’s Civil Environmental Public Interest Litigations”, co-authored by Dr. Ding Chunyan and Dr. Xiao Huina, was published with Fordham Environmental Law Review in June 2021.
The article, drawing upon content analysis of the 655 prosecutor-led civil EPILs and in-depth interviews with twelve frontline prosecutors and judges, systematically examines the dynamics of regulatory practice and the motivation of the Chinese prosecutorial organs to engage in environmental regulation through litigation in three stages: ad hoc regulation through local innovation before July 2015; forced regulation during the legal experiment from July 2015 to July 2017; and perfunctory regulation after the nationwide establishment of the prosecutor-led civil EPIL system in July 2017. This study highlights the very limited effectiveness of vertical political pressure in boosting prosecutorial regulation and the strong impacts of the cost of regulation and the ambiguity of the law. The findings echo the conditions present in the successful prosecutorial regulations in Brazil and contribute to the scholarship about prosecutorial regulations in the field of environmental protection in the Global South.