(Issued by the General Office of the state Council on November 7, 1995)
In recent years, some countries and regions, out of their own interests, have been transferring pollution by exporting large quantities of waste by various means and channels. In order to protect the environment, the Party Central Committee and the State Council have repeatedly warned that it is forbidden to consider China as a storehouse where foreign waste may be dumped or piled. In spite of this ban, some units, in pursuit of profit, have illegally imported harmful waste from abroad and have thus seriously jeopardized the environment of China and impaired the health of the Chinese people. Therefore, firm measures shall be adopted to stop such actions. A circular is hereby issued on the basis of the decision of the State Council:
1. The protection of the environment is one of the basic state polices of the Chinese Government. Governments at all levels and relevant departments shall attach great importance to this policy, firmly implement the instructions of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, strictly enforce the law, strengthen practical administration over the import of foreign waste, and forbid China to be considered as a storehouse where harmful waste may be dumped or piled.
2. Practical administration concerning the import of foreign waste shall be strengthened. The import of foreign waste shall be administered in two categories: first, waste that is forbidden to be imported; and second, waste that can be used as a raw material but the import of which shall be under strict control.
(1) For waste that is forbidden to be imported, no unit or individual shall be permitted to engage in the import or other business activities involving such waste. All departments concerned shall strictly check on and resolutely forbid the import of such waste.
(2) Imports of waste that can be used as a raw material but the import of which is under strict control shall be examined and approved exclusively by the National Environmental Protection Agency; no other department or local People's government shall have this authority. The National Environmental Protection Agency shall make strict inspections. The departments in charge and the industrial and commercial administrations shall not permit the enterprises concerned to deal in such imports or go through the registration formalities without documents approved by the National Environmental Protection Agency. Customs shall not permit such imports without approved documents.
(3) For waste that can be used as a raw material but the import of which is under strict control, The State Commodity Inspection Institution shall include it in the directory of commodities requiring mandatory inspection and shall conduct mandatory inspections. The National Agency for the Inspection of Import and Export Commodities shall, in conjunction with the National Environmental Protection Agency , work out the standards for mandatory inspection as soon as possible (before the standards for inspection are issued and implemented, the commodity inspection departments shall strengthen their examinations and shall, in the event any problem is found, without delay notify and transfer the case to the environmental protection departments and customs for disposal).
The provisional directory for the classification administration over the import of waste shall be worked out and issued immediately by the National Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the General Administration of Customs.
3. For countries or regions that illegally transfer waste to China, the departments concerned under the State Council shall act in close coordination and make full use of domestic and international laws and regulations to solemnly negotiate with said countries or regions in order to stop their actions and demand the immediate transport of the waste back to the place of origin.
4. Units and individuals that illegally import waste shall be severely punished in accordance with the respective duties of customs and the departments of environmental protection, industry and commerce, foreign trade and economic cooperation, and commodity inspection; those cases which constitute crimes shall be transferred to judicial organs and prosecuted for any criminal liability. Organs and concerned personnel that illegally approve and permit the import of waste shall be subject to serious investigation and handling.
5. Units and individuals that evade taxes or gain export refunds by cheating, once discovered, shall be severely punished in conformity with legal provisions.
6. Enterprises that have been engaged in importing, dealing in, or using foreign waste shall be immediately cleaned up and rectified. Units that have been illegally engaged in importing, dealing in, or using foreign waste that has been prohibited to be imported shall be firmly banned by the industrial and commercial administrations; units that have been engaged in importing, dealing in, or using waste that can be used as a raw material but the import of which shall be under strict control shall retroactively go through the formalities of inspection and approval with the National Environmental Protection Agency before the end of 1995; those who do not complete the formalities by the deadline shall be forbidden by customs to import waste, shall be deprived of the authority to import by the department of foreign economic and trade cooperation, and shall have their business licenses revoked by the industrial and commercial administration.
7. The National Environmental Protection Agency shall take the lead in organizing an allied investigative group with participation of the departments concerned in order to strictly investigate and handle the illegal import of waste and punish the lawbreakers in conformity with legal provisions. Vigorous propaganda and education shall be conducted, powerful public opinion shall be aroused, and all social strength shall be relied on for supervision.
8. The National Environmental Protection Agency shall, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Economic and Trade Cooperation and the General Administration of Customs, work out, issue, and implement as soon as possible specific managerial methods for the import of waste.