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Voluntary Lawyers to Offer Advice on Environmental Protection

The first group of 52 voluntary lawyers promised to offer free advice to victims of environmental damages and ecological deterioration.

The All-China Environment Federation (ACEF), a non-profit organization affiliated to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), masterminded the legal-assistance campaign, the Legal Daily reported on Tuesday.

The ACEF recruited the 52 lawyers from around the country and trains them in better understanding of the urgency of environmental protection at present in China, legal appraisal on environment violations, effective ways of collecting pollution evidence for lawsuits and better legal assistance to pollution victims, the newspaper said.

Li Hengyuan, deputy secretary general of the ACEF, said the federation hopes the voluntary efforts contributed by the lawyers would help curb environmental destructions and aid the needed people who suffer from such violations.

While China saw the world's fastest growing economic development in the past three decades, environmental and ecological deterioration becomes one of the major problems which could sufficiently undermine prosperity resulting from the unprecedented growth, Li said.

According to statistics gathered by the ACEF, Li said, formal complaints lodged by pollution victims increased in recent years at an average rate of 30 percent.

The National People's Congress Environment and Resources Committee, the Ministry of Justice and Beijing University provide academic and professional support to the group of voluntary lawyers, the newspaper said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2007)

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