The official Xinhua news agency said 200 people had been arrested and more than 3,500 companies and workshops shut down for environmental violations, figures that remained comparatively modest in a nation of 1.3 billion beset by air and water pollution and waste disposal problems.
Environmental authorities transferred a total of 706 cases in 2013 to police in 2013 -- more than all the cases referred in the previous decade -- the official Xinhua news agency said, citing figures provided by Chinese environment minister Zhou Shengxian.
The news follows a move by China in April to amend its environmental protection law for the first time in 25 years, imposing tougher penalties on polluters and pledging that violators will be "named and shamed". The changes take effect on January 1, 2015.
Beijing is acutely aware of an increasing number of angry protests over environmental concerns in the country, where three decades of rapid and unfettered industrial expansion have taken a heavy toll....