Chinese lawmakers Monday started deliberating a draft law on Yangtze River conservation aimed at protecting the ecological environment of the Yangtze River basin and facilitating green development.
The draft was submitted for the first reading at the ongoing bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.
Consisting of nine chapters with 84 provisions, the draft is China’s first legislation on a specific river basin.
The draft is expected to address prominent problems damaging the ecological system of the Yangtze River basin, prevent and rectify various disruptive behaviors and boost the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, said Gao Hucheng, chairman of the NPC Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee, while briefing lawmakers on the draft Monday.
I am curious to see what mechanisms they decide to use to regulate this river system. Rivers are one of those fascinating features that have received a great deal of attention in legal regimes. For example, Colombia’s Constitutional Court recognised the Atrato River as a “subject of rights”. The Wikipedia page listing the instances of “environmental personhood” shows that such recognition is often given to rivers which are essential to human settlement and development.