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China Center Research Brief: All signs point to much stronger environmental protection in China

Last winter’s air pollution control plan in the larger Beijing area was unprecedented both in scale and intensity. The action plan was part of a much broader, central government-led effort to tackle China’s pervasive air pollution problem and significantly ramp up environmental protection efforts in general. Both words and deeds signal loud and clear that Xi Jinping is serious about this new round of environmental protection reforms. The creation of the (Super) Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in March further amplifies these signals. The MEE is expected to emerge with expanded executive powers and improved pollution supervision and enforcement abilities. One consequence: there will be less and less room at the local levels to finagle central policies.

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