Victim: Liu Min, male, Han Chinese, Resident of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin city, Nangang district
Defendant: Heilongjiang Province Department of Environmental Protection
For many years, the plaintiff suffered the toxic smell and dust pollution from the Ha Group Medicine Production Factory, (below called the Ha Medicine Factory). His mental and physical health were impacted severely. The stench came from the Ha Medicine Factory¡¯s production workshop. The polluted water came from the factory¡¯s waste stream, and the dust came from the workshop for heat-dried proteins. In addition, the applicant¡¯s home was separated from Ha Medicine Factory¡¯s sewage facility and the heat-dried protein workshop only by a wall; one can only imagine the existing environment. Liu Min initiated a lawsuit multiple times against Ha MedicineFactory¡¯s severe pollution problems, at the Harbin Nangang District court, but from start to finish there was no settlement of the dispute. However, in October of 2007, Liu Min filed a lawsuit against Ha Medicine Factory in the Harbin Nangang District court requesting Ha Medicine Factory stop creating environmental harms, and requested 60,000 RMB in compensation for his mental and physical discomfort. The compensation was for the illegal pollution that caused the plaintiff¡¯s property and other losses of up to 120,000 RMB. In April of 2008, the lawsuit was accepted by the Nangang District court. From when the case was registered, the Liu Min had to wait two years for the first court hearing, until November 10, 2010, when he finally was welcomed to the first court hearing. After the hearing, the case disappeared, up until now the first court hearing still has no judgement.
In order to gather the evidence for the civil case, starting in May of 2011, Liu Min applied for environmental information disclosure multiple times at the Heilongjiang Province Department of Environmental Protection. But, the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection did not make any official reply within the statutory time limit.
Liu Min, in August of 2011, filed a suit in the Harbin Nangang District People¡¯s Court against the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection for nonfeasance according legal provisions, but the court did not accept the case;
In December 2011, the Environmental Protection Bureau section for letters and calls of complaints stepped in to coordinate the information disclosure suit. The Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection suddenly refused to release the Environmental Impact Assessment reports of the Ha Medicine Factory sewage disposal plant.
In April of 2012, he filed for administrative reconsideration of the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection¡¯s nonfeasance;
In May, he received the Environmental Impact Assessment report abridged edition.
After attaining the EIA, Ha Medicine Factor, without authorization, changed the location of the construction program. According to EIA regulations, this constitutes illegal behavior. Liu Min applied to the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection to fulfill its duty to investigate and prosecute the matter. Suddenly the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection abstained from action.
On August 14, 2012, he filed with the Environmental Protection Bureau for adminstriative reconsideration of the Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection¡¯s nonfeasance.
On October 26, 2012, Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection created the ¡°Reply to the Harbin Medicine Manufacturer 25,000 ton/Ri Kang Vitamin Integrated Wastewater Disposal Program Illegal Behavior Investigation and Management of the Situation¡±;
Liu Min, refusing to accept this as the final step, applied for a reconsideration in the Environmental Protection Bureau. On December 7, 2012, in accordance with legal provisions, the Environmental Protection Bureau created an Administrative Reconsideration Decision Report (Environmental Law 2012 Number 117), instructing the Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection, in accordance with the law, to investigate the Ha Medicine Group Medicine Manufacturing Factory¡¯s sewage disposal plant suspected of illegal construction.
The Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection did not grant fulfillment of the Environmental Protection Bureau¡¯s Administrative Reconsideration Decision Report. Liu Min applied again to the Environmental Protection Bureau for the execution of administrative reconsideration;
On March 20, 2013, Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection created ¡°The Decision Regarding Ha Medicine Group¡¯s Medicine Manufacturing Factory Sewage Disposal Suspected of Illegal Construction Not Granted Administrative Punishment¡±;
Liu Min was not satisfied with ¡°The Decision Regarding Ha Medicine Group¡¯s Medicine Manufacturing Factory Sewage Disposal Suspected of Illegal Construction Not Granted Administrative Punishment,¡± and applied for adminsitrative reconsideration in the Environmental Bureau;
On September 5, 2013, the Environmental Bureau created the Administrative Reconsideration Report (Environmental Law 2013 Number 82): Maintain ¡°The Decision Regarding Ha Medicine Group¡¯s Medicine Manufacturing Factory Sewage Disposal Suspected of Illegal Construction Not Granted Administrative Punishment.¡± And, clearly informed: if you refuse to accept this decision, you can file an administrative lawsuit with the People¡¯s Court within 15 days of receiving the reconsideration decision.
The Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims appointed lawyer Dai Renhui to provide legal aid to Liu Min. After receiving the Environmental Protection Bureau¡¯s administrative reconsideration decision report, within the statutory deadline of 15 days, he filed a suit with the Nangang District Court, suing the Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection. He requested that the People¡¯s Court confirm the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection¡¯s March 20, 2013 issued ¡°The Decision Regarding Ha Medicine Group¡¯s Medicine Manufacturing Factory Sewage Disposal Suspected of Illegal Construction Not Granted Administrative Punishment¡± as illegal and to grant its cancellation. Furthermore, Dai Renhui requested the People¡¯s Court instruct the defendant, as in accordance with the law, to fulfill its duty of statutory supervision, and to grant investigation of the Ha Medicine Factory¡¯s illegal construction.
After filing the lawsuit, Liu Min has gone around to the Nangang District court and Harbin Mid-level court multiple times. Running around like a child playing soccer, he is still waiting for the the case to be registered today by two levels of courts, an administrative court and the complaintance bureau.
In this case to sue the construction project, according to the EIA official response, the location of construction was supposed to be 300 meters from Liu Min¡¯s house, and in reality, the construction was separated from Liu Min¡¯s house only by a wall. Whether or not this kind of behavior falls under the ¡°Environmental Impact Assessment Law¡± 24th article regulation of a construction program¡¯s construction site needing to draw up new EIA report papers if a large scale change of a construction unit occurs, detailing the conditions of the construction project, is the main source of controversy. Heilongjiang Department of Environmental Protection believed ¡°It did not constitute a large-scale change, so it did not need to create a new Environmental Impact Assessment.¡± But, we believe, whether or not this constituted a large scale change can be determined after first checking the change¡¯s impact on the surrounding environment, whether or not the changes occurred in sensitive environments, then secondly, this is a change of displacement as determined by physics. In this case, from Liu Min¡¯s perspective, it should be considered a large-scale change. We want to file a lawsuit in the courts, and through courts come to a judicial final judgement.
The administrative case¡¯s registration has tortured Liu Min to the brink of collapse. It has already been more than half a year after the initial filing in courts, and today the case has still not been registered. Nangang District Courts and Harbin Middle Level Courts¡¯ behaviour severely violates the legal system and conscience, severely damages the judicial reputation, and severely tramples on the law. The difficulties and resistance faced in this case fully illustrate the administrative case registration¡¯s challenging, chronic disease.
As for the problem of this case, it has already been handed to the Supreme Court, Supreme Prosecutorial Office, and the National People¡¯s Congress Law Committee, and we are also aiming for the highest levels¡¯ emphasis and oversight.