Chicago Journal of International Law


In critiquing the current information mechanisms in China's EIAS, including the recently promulgated guidelines on public participation in the EIAS, this Article seeks to offer the following three preliminary observations: first, too many resources have been devoted to collecting speculative information for preventive measures that are often strategically produced by regulated subjects, thereby depriving all parties, especially regulators, of the opportunity to accumulate the appropriate type of human capital and efficiently allocate limited resources; second, ill-designed regulation of intermediaries and improper use of public participation requirements in China's EIAS together provide enterprises with incentives not to disclose quality information and may discourage some enterprises from entering the market; and third, for public participation purposes, using the same framework to evaluate decisions made by the government and by enterprises may be counterproductive. Such an approach may help the regulator as an institution without necessarily providing benefits to the public. In particular, shifting administrative costs and public pressure to enterprises may not advance the goal of effective pollution regulation. These three observations may also shed light on studies about the design of information mechanisms in other Chinese regulatory regimes.