The CCP has just fired off a warning shot to anybody who even thinks about trying to undermine its "climate" agenda, while simultaneously putting on a show to the international community to try and convince them that it is serious about curbing emissions.
According to Bloomberg, 47 steel company officials are being jailed for between six and 18 months following a "crackdown" on companies breaking environmental rules that went unenforced for a long time. The officials worked at four steel mills in Tangshan, not far from Beijing. The city is known as China's biggest steelmaking hub.
The ruling was handed down by the Tangshan Intermediate People's Court, which said in a statement that the companies had also been fined millions of yuan and that fines had also been assessed against the defendants.
Read the full statement - written in English, a sign that the CCP wants the international community to take notice - below:
On January 27, 2022, the Tangshan Intermediate People's Court organized four courts of Lunan, Lubei, Kaiping and Guye to pronounce judgments on 4 environmental pollution cases in our city. Courts in the four places sentenced 47 defendants in charge, directly responsible and directly involved in the four steel enterprises involved in the case, to fixed-term imprisonment ranging from 6 months to 1 year and 6 months, and fined them. The two iron and steel enterprises that committed the crime of the environmental pollution crime unit were sentenced to fines of 4 million and 7 million yuan respectively. The courts of the four places invited deputies to the National People's Congress, members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the principals of key iron and steel enterprises in their jurisdictions to participate in this centralized sentencing event.
Tangshan Songting Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., Hebei Xinda Iron and Steel Group Co., Ltd., Tangshan City Medium and Thick Plate Co., Ltd., and Tangshan Jinma Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. are key pollutant discharge units in Tangshan City. In March 2021, in order to evade the supervision of the environmental protection department, the four companies carried out illegal production by interfering with automatic monitoring facilities and falsifying automatic detection data, and released a large amount of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. After the court trial, it was found that the four companies had falsified data, discharged pollutants in excess of the standard, seriously polluted the atmosphere, endangered the health and safety of the people, and constituted the crime of polluting the environment. Among them, Tangshan Songting Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. and Hebei Xinda Iron and Steel Group Co., Ltd. constituted the crime of environmental pollution crime units.
In recent years, the Tangshan Intermediate People's Court has given full play to the functions of criminal trial, punishment and education of environmental resources, and severely punished criminal acts that pollute the environment and cause serious consequences and subjective viciousness in accordance with the law. Through this centralized judgment, it can effectively deter potential polluting enterprises, educate and guide enterprises to consciously protect the ecological environment, and escort the construction of clear water and blue sky and the high-quality economic and social development of our city.
All of the officials being jailed were found to be complicit in the faking of air pollution data submitted to the government.
The jail sentences "underscore Beijng's push to clean up a major source of air pollution", Bloomberg reported.
Over the past decade, Beijing has tried to tighten environmental controls to clean up China's notoriously dirty air. Their goal is to have more than 530M tons of steelmaing capacity in the "ultra-low emissions" category by 2025.
The sentences mark the end of a long-running environmental crackdown on the steelmaking hub. Tangshan Jinma and another three mills were found guilty last March of not complying with production cuts put in place to reduce pollution.