Date of text
Court name
Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court
Seat of court
Sichuan Province
Reference number
Guiding Case No. 138
Administrative, Chemicals and Waste, Fines or Sanctions, Injunctive Relief, Inspections, Permits, Prevention, Water Pollution, Jurisdiction, Environmental Impact Assessments

Case Brief

The plaintiff Chen * Long was the owner of a glass factory in the Damian Community of Chengdu’s Longquanyi District, processing and producing tempered glass since March 2011. On 2 November 2012, the Environmental Protection Bureau of Chenghua District (EPB) inspected the plaintiff’s facilities and found the factory had a secret sewage pipe to discharge sewage without a permit. After investigation, the EPB issued an administrative penalty [Chenghua Environmental Punishment, 2012, No.1130-01] on 11 December 2012, stating the plaintiff’s act violated Article 22(2) of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (CWP Law). In accordance with Article 75(2) of the CWP Law, a penalty decision was made, ordering the plaintiff to remove the concealed pipe immediately and pay a fine of CNY 100,000. The plaintiff refused to accept the penalty and filed a lawsuit requesting the court to set it aside.


On 21 May 2014, the People’s Court of Chenghua District, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, dismissed the plaintiff’s claims via the [2014, Chenghua, Administrative First Trial, No. 29] Administrative Judgment. The plaintiff refused to comply and appealed to the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court, Sichuan Province.

On 22 August 2014, the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal via administrative judgement (Chengdu, Administrative, Final No. 345 Administrative Judgment).

On 21 October 2014, the plaintiff filed a motion with Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court, seeking a retrial. In Chengdu, Administrative, No. 131, the court ruled against the plaintiff’s motion.


The court held that while the plaintiff’s factory was registered in Chengdu’s Longquanyi District, it was in the city’s Chenghua District where the violation of law occurred, resulting in environmental pollution during production and processing. According to Article 20 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty, and Article 17 of the Measures for Environmental Administrative Punishment, Chenghua EPB had the jurisdiction and administrative power to make the penalty decision.

A Test Report issued by the Environmental Monitoring Station of Chenghua District on 22 May 2012 showed that wastewater discharged by the plaintiff’s factory met standards for discharging sewage; but as it was discharged through the concealed pipe installed without a permit, it violated Article 22(2) of the CWP Law.

Before this case, the plaintiff’s factory had been subject to administrative penalties for the illegal act of “starting production without obtaining the environmental impact assessment permit and passing the environmental protection facilities acceptance test”—so this latest contravention constituted relapsing unlawful conduct. Therefore, within the penalty range specified in Article 75(2) of the CWP Law, and considering this case was the plaintiff’s second breach of the law, it was appropriate for Chenghua EPB to impose the administrative penalty of CNY 100,000.

Key environmental legal questions

Enterprises, non-profit institutions, producers, and business operators who discharge water pollutants by evading supervision by secretly installing concealed sewage pipes without a permit, shall be subject to administrative penalties according to the law. Where a polluter objects to administrative penalties by claiming the pollutants discharged meet standards and have caused no harm to the environment, the court will reject such a claim.