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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020

Chapter 4 - Implementing Environmental Health Policy

from Part II - The Government Response


When Xi Jinping took the helm in 2012, one of his major concerns was how to connect the wheel to the rudder: eliciting compliance from lower levels. Unlike previous party leaders, Xi rapidly recentralized his political power to a level that rivals Mao’s. The recreation of the Maoist bandwagon polity reshaped the institutional contours of policy implementation. Pollution control was a key element of this shift. The central leaders pushed for the enactment of three pollution-related action plans. With the elevation and embedding of environmental health issues, the power and prestige of central environmental protection agencies have been strengthened. Policy implementation has also been facilitated by the introduction of new policy instruments and mechanisms aimed at improving accountability and policy coordination. Still, many of the inherent policy implementation problems continue to be left untouched. They include upward accountability, lack of public participation, conflict between functional departments and territorial governments, and the central state’s inability to effectively monitor and evaluate bureaucratic performance.

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