Beijing, China - Senior leaders from the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) traveled to China last week to meet with Chinese prosecutors, judges, academics and other officials to promote cooperation on enforcement of environmental laws and the importance of the rule of law.
On May 20, 2019, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill met with personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, including the Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Forden and the Legal Advisor of the Department of Justice to the U.S. Embassy, Richard Daynes. The visit to the Embassy included an evening presentation to the general public at the Beijing American Center about ENRD’s robust enforcement of the United States’ environmental and wildlife protection laws. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session with an audience of over 100, including area law students and interested parties. A focus of discussion was recent changes to China’s environmental enforcement laws and public interest litigation practices.
Later that week, Assistant Attorney General Clark and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brightbill addressed Chinese prosecutors, judges, academics, and other Chinese officials at the National Prosecutors College of China. They discussed the relationship of constitutional law, federalism, and the separation of powers to the practice of environmental law and enforcement in the United States, highlighting the importance of the rule of law. Mr. Clark and Mr. Brightbill also participated in a two-day conference on U.S.-China Watershed Management and Public Interest Litigation, co-sponsored by the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School. The Assistant Attorney General’s presentations and remarks emphasized the Trump Administration’s role in reinvigorating the ideals of individual liberty, respect for private property rights, valuing the role of state and local governments, advancing the ability of people to be self-reliant and economically productive, and the appropriate use of the United States’ abundant natural resources.
While in China, Assistant Attorney General Clark, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brightbill, and Department of Justice Legal Advisor Daynes also met with environmental enforcement officials from the Chinese Supreme People’s Procuratorate and judges of China’s Supreme People’s Court. The Assistant Attorney General and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General also lectured at the Law School of the China University of Political Science and Law.