Around April 2017, ZHANG Yongming, MAO Weiming and ZHANG Lu reached the agreement to go to the Sanqing Mountain Scenic Area to climb the "Gigantic Python Rising in the Mountain" (also known as the Python Peak). Before dawn on April 15, 2017, ZHANG Yongming, MAO Weiming and ZHANG Lu began to climb the Python Peak with tools including an electric drill, pitons, a hammer and ropes. When climbing, ZHANG Yongming drilled pitons in dangerous places, and MAO Weiming and ZHANG Lu climbed along the pitons and ropes laid by ZHANG Yongming. All the three people climbed to the top of the Python Peak through collaboration and coordination. Through on-site investigation, ZHANG Yongming hammered 26 pitons into the rock mass of the Python Peak. After the occurrence of the case, the Sanqing Mountain Management Committee installed the intelligent monitoring system on the Python Peak at the cost of 510,826.4 Yuan. According to expert evaluation, the estimated value of damage to the Python Peak should be no less than the threshold amount of 11.9 million Yuan of the non-use value (NUV) losses to the Python Peak arising from the case. ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming have been identified as committing the crime of intentional damage to the place of historical and cultural interest in a valid criminal judgment made separately. Hence, the Shangrao People's Procuratorate of Jiangxi Province hereby lodges a civil public interest lawsuit, requesting ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming to jointly and severally compensate for the threshold amount of the NUV losses to the Python Peak of 11.9 million Yuan, jointly and severally pay 510,826.4 Yuan for the installation of the intelligent monitoring system on the Python Peak as a measure to eliminate danger, and 150,000 Yuan for engaging experts for the appraisal, and make a public apology on a well-known national news and media platform.
In the first instance, the Intermediate People's Court of Shangrao City of Jiangxi Province holds that the act of ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming of climbing the Python Peak by hammering pitons has evidently jeopardized the environmental resources. Hence, the Shangrao People's Procuratorate has the jurisdiction to lodge a civil public interest lawsuit for ecological damage. In the first instance, the Shangrao People's Procuratorate applied for the withdrawal of the claim that ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming jointly and severally pay 510,826.4 Yuan for the installation of the Python Peak intelligent monitoring system as a measure of eliminating the danger, which was approved by the court. Comprehensively taking specific matters into account, including the rarity of the Python Peak as a World Natural Heritage site, severity of consequences and wide social impact of ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming's acts, and the economic condition and compensation capacity of ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming, the court decided at its discretion that ZHANG Yongming, ZHANG Lu and MAO Weiming shall jointly and severally compensate for losses to environmental resources of 6 million Yuan, and for the expert fee of 150,000 Yuan, and publish an announcement on a national media platform to make a public apology. Jiangxi High People's Court of second instance upholds the original judgment.
It is a civil public interest lawsuit for ecological damage caused by intentional damage to a place of historical and cultural interest. The Sanqing Mountain National Park is a key scenic area in China, on the List of the World Natural Heritage and that of the UNESCO Global Geoparks. The geological heritage site of the Python Peak is a precious and landmark scenic spot in the Sanqing Mountain National Park, which is not only a non-renewable rare natural resource, but also a natural asset for sustainable utilization, with significant scientific, aesthetic and economic value. The three doers in the case climbed the Python Peak in a destructive manner, by drilling holes and hammering 26 pitons into the granite column of the Python Peak, resulting in serious damage to the Python Peak. The people's court punished the crime of intentional damage to the place of historical and cultural interest by law, which is a warning to the general public against damage to places of historical and cultural interest under the state protection. Meanwhile, the court accepted the civil public interest lawsuit for ecological damage, and ordered the doers to assume the liability for ecological and environmental restoration with consideration of case facts and expert opinions, playing an important demonstration role in promoting the preservation and restoration of places of historical and cultural interest, and guiding the general public to adopt a correct view of ecological environment and to cherish and care for natural resources and ecological environment that the human beings rely on for survival and development. This lawsuit, and the criminal action against ZHANG Yongming, MAO Weiming and ZHANG Lu for intentional damage to the place of historical and cultural interest, with the integration of criminal liability and civil liability, not only showcase the punitive function of the Criminal Law, but also reflect the ecological restoration function of public interest litigation for damaged natural resources.