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Ministry of Ecology and Environment the People's Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Shengtai-Huánjìng Bù
Agency overview
FormedMarch 2008; 16 years ago (2008-03)
Preceding agency
  • State Environmental Protection Administration
TypeConstituent Department of the State Council (cabinet-level executive department)
JurisdictionGovernment of China
Minister responsible
Deputy Ministers responsible
Agency executives
  • Liao Xiyuan, Leader of Discipline Inspection & Supervision Team
  • Liu Bingjiang, Chief Engineer
  • Tian Weiyong, Chief Engineer for Nuclear Safety
  • Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate Change (ministerial-level)
Parent agencyState Council
Websitewww.mee.gov.cn Edit this at Wikidata

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment is an executive-department of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, responsible for the ecological and environmental affairs. It is the 15th-ranked department in the State Council.

The Ministry is the nation's environmental protection department charged with the task of protecting China's air, water, and land from pollution and contamination. Directly under the State Council, it is empowered and required by law to implement environmental policies and enforce environmental laws and regulations. Complementing its regulatory role, it funds and organizes research and development.


In 1972, Chinese representatives attended the First United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Sweden. The next year, 1973, saw the establishment of the Environmental Protection Leadership Group. In 1983, the Chinese government announced that environmental protection would become a state policy. In 1998, China went through a disastrous year of serious flooding, and the Chinese government upgraded the Leading Group to a ministry-level agency, which then became the State Environmental Protection Administration.[citation needed]

In March 2008, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) was established, replacing the State Environmental Protection Administration.[citation needed]

During 2016–2017, the MEP temporarily shut down approximately 40% of all Chinese factories as part of an environmental protection campaign.[1]: 90 

Pollutant trading programs were administered under the MEP and local Environmental Protection Bureaus until 2018.[1]: 78 

In 2018, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) was established,[2]: 95  replacing the MEP.[3] A number of environmental policy functions were merged from other ministries into the MEE, including climate policy previously under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and a number of environmental policy functions previously under the Ministry of Water Resources and the State Oceanic Administration.[2]: 95  Pollutant and carbon emissions trading programs, which had previously been under the MEP's jurisdiction, were also placed within the MEE's control.[1]: 78 

In 2019, the MEE established the BRI International Green Development Coalition as a joint project with the environmental agencies of twenty-five other countries.[4]: 60 


According to regulations concerning the Ministry, the MEE is responsible for protecting, regulating, and monitoring the environment, as well as enforcing environmental policies.[5] It is responsible for pollution control, conserving the ecosystem, formulating environmental standards, conducting environmental impact assessments, environmental protection inspections, addressing climate change, supervising emissions reduction targets, supervising nuclear safety, as well as international environmental cooperation.[5][6] It also has jurisdiction over China's nuclear safety agency.[7]

MEE regulates water quality, ambient air quality, solid waste, soil, noise, radioactivity. In the area of R&D activities, MEE's predecessor MEP has funded a series of "Key Laboratories" in different parts of the country, including: Laboratory for Urban Air Particles Pollution Prevention and Control for Environmental Protection, Laboratory on Environment and Health, Laboratory on Industrial Ecology, Laboratory on Wetland Ecology and Vegetation Recovery, and Laboratory on Biosafety.[8]

In addition, MEE also administers engineering and technical research centers related to environmental protection, including: Center for Non-ferrous Metal Industrial Pollution Control, Center for Clean Coal and Ecological Recovery of Mines, Center for Industrial Waste Water Pollution Control, Center for Industrial Flue Gas Control, Center for Hazardous Waste Treatment, and Center for Solid Waste Treatment and Disposal of Mines.[8]

China is experiencing an increase in environmental complaints: In 2005, there were 51,000 disputes over environmental pollution, according to SEPA minister Zhou Shengxian. From 2001 to 2005, Chinese environmental authorities received more than 2.53 million letters and 430,000 visits by 597,000 petitioners seeking environmental redress.[9]


There are 12 offices and departments under MEE, all at the si (司) level in the government ranking system. They carry out regulatory tasks in different areas and make sure that the agency is functioning accordingly. The MEE is the administrative home of the ministerial-level Special Envoy for Climate Change Affairs, China's top envoy on international climate change negotiations. The Special Envoy is supported by the MEE's Office of Climate Change Affairs, headed by a vice minister.[6]

Department structure

Department Chinese Name
General Administrative Office (办公厅)
Department of Human Resources & Institutional Affairs (行政体制与人事司)
Department of Planning and Finance (规划与财务司)
Department of Policies, Laws and Regulations (政策法规司)
Department of Science & Technology and Standards (科技标准司)
Pollution Control Office (污染控制司)
Natural Ecosystem Protection Office (自然生态保护司)
Department of Environmental Impact Assessment (环境影响评价管理司)
International Cooperation Office (国际合作司)
Department of Nuclear Safety (核安全管理司)
Environmental Inspection Office (环境监察局)
Office of Agency & Party Affairs (机关党委)


Position Person Name
Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu
Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment Sun Jinlong, Zhai Qing, Zhao Yingmin, Ye Min
Head of the Discipline Inspection & Supervision Group Dispatched From the CCDI & the NSC Kurexi Maihesuti

Regional centers

In 2006, SEPA opened five regional centers to help with local inspections and enforcement. Today, the five centers are direct affiliates of MEE:[6]

Region Head Office Enforcement Area
Eastern Center Nanjing Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Shandong.
Southern Center Guangzhou Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan.
Northwestern Center Xi'an Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Ningxia.
Southwestern Center Chengdu Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Tibet.
Northeastern Center Shenyang Liaoning, Jining, and Heilongjiang.
MEE headquarters Beijing Beijing, Tianjing, Hebei, Henan, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia.

List of ministers

No. Name Took office Left office
Director of State Environmental Protection Agency
1 Qu Geping 1987 June 1993
2 Xie Zhenhua June 1993 March 1998
Director of State Environmental Protection Administration
(2) Xie Zhenhua March 1998 December 2005
3 Zhou Shengxian December 2005 March 2008
Minister of Environmental Protection
(3) Zhou Shengxian March 2008 February 2015
4 Chen Jining February 2015 June 2017
5 Li Ganjie June 2017 March 2018
Minister of Ecology and Environment
(5) Li Ganjie March 2018 April 2020
(6) Huang Runqiu April 2020 -

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ding, Iza (2020). "Pollution Emissions Trading in China". In Esarey, Ashley; Haddad, Mary Alice; Lewis, Joanna I.; Harrell, Stevan (eds.). Greening East Asia: The Rise of the Eco-Developmental State. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-74791-0. JSTOR j.ctv19rs1b2.
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Joanna I. (2023). Cooperating for the Climate: Learning from International Partnerships in China's Clean Energy Sector. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-54482-5.
  3. ^ "华建敏:组建环境保护部加大环境保护力度_新闻中心_新浪网". Sina Corp. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  4. ^ Shinn, David H.; Eisenman, Joshua (2023). China's Relations with Africa: a New Era of Strategic Engagement. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-21001-0.
  5. ^ a b "生态环境部职能配置、内设机构和人员编制规定" [Regulations on the functional configuration, internal structure and staffing of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment]. State Council of the People's Republic of China. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  6. ^ a b c "Decoding Chinese Politics". Asia Society. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  7. ^ [1] Archived 2007-05-03 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b [2] Archived October 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Environmental protection in China: the role of law | Alex Wang". China Dialogue. Retrieved 2013-02-12.