Paper on Environmental Super Ministry Reform in China

SYSU student Mark Qiu (Ph.D. canddidate in administrative law) has written a paper on the super ministry reform in China that occurred last March. The reform resulted in the elevation of the State Environmental Protection Administration to the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Below is a download link to paper and an abstract:

On March 15, 2008, China’s 11th National People’s Congress passed the super ministry reform (SMR) motion proposed by the State Council and created five “super ministries,” mostly combinations of two or more previous ministries or departments. The main purpose of this SMR was to avoid overlapping governmental responsibilities by combining departments with similar authority and closely related functions. One of the highlights was the elevation of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), which we also refer to as the environmental super ministry reform.The reference to “super ministry” is short-hand for the creation of a “comprehensive responsibilities super administrative ministry framework”. In order to promote comprehensive management and coordination, several departments are merged into a new entity, the “super ministry”, based on their similar goals and responsibilities. By enlarging the ministry’s responsibilities and authority, the reform essentially turns some inter-department tasks to intra-department issues, so one single department can cope with comprehensive problems from multiple perspectives, avoiding overlapping responsibilities and authority. Thus, administrative efficiency is increased and administrative costs are reduced. During this super ministry reform, MEP was upgraded and was the only department to retain its organizational structure and governmental responsibilities. This demonstrates the strong political will and commitment of China’s central government to environmental protection. This article first introduces the background of the SMR, followed by a discussion of the motivations and positive impacts of the SMR in the environmental protection sector. The authors then analyze significant problems of the current environmental protection administrative framework, which the environmental super ministry reform can potentially solve but so far has not touched. Finally, the article presents recommendations on key issues for future development.

Opening for a Deputy Director for Vermont Law School China Program


Vermont Law School seeks an extraordinary attorney with substantial experience in China, knowledge of environmental law, interested in the administration and development of our extraordinary Partnership in Environmental Law in China. Under the current Director, Professor Tseming Yang, the program trains Chinese attorneys in environmental law in China and Vermont, sends Vermont students to China, and produces collaborations and scholarship among its participants.

In the immediate future, the Deputy Director will have direct responsibility for the implementation of a new in-depth training project for Chinese law scholars at Vermont Law Scholars, involvement in the implementation of other parts of the ongoing program, and associated administrative responsibilities.

In the long term, the Deputy Project Director will acquire primary responsibility for the implementation and operation of the program, and share responsibility for development and the formation of strategic partnerships.

(1) Implement the strategic objectives of the Partnership under the supervision of the Director, Professor Tseming Yang.

(2) Provide assistance to members of the Chinese legal community in their efforts to become more effective environmental and energy problem solvers through:

§ Implementing environmental and energy law conferences, workshops, seminars, and roundtables in China and in Vermont.

§ Assisting in the design, funding, and taking the lead in implementing an LLM program for Chinese attorneys in Vermont.

§ Researching and consulting on regulatory policy, legislative drafting and general environmental and policy matter to Chinese government agencies.

§ Expanding and diversifying partnership activities by collaborating with law school faculty in China.

§ Implementing an Environmental and Energy Law Professors Network.

§ Strengthening collaboration on joint clinical and research projects at VLS and in China.

§ Administering and coordinating academic residencies at VLS for Chinese faculty and visiting Chinese graduate students.

(3) Seek and secure funding for all continuation and, as appropriate, expansion of the China project consistent with the goals set forth in section 2 above, including through foundation and government grants.

(4) Develop strategic partnerships with educational, environmental, and governmental entities both in China, the United States and elsewhere
(5) Oversee compliance with USAID and other funding sources’ requirements.

(6) Possible opportunity for teaching and faculty rank.

Essential Competencies

§ Knowledge of broad environmental and energy law issues in China.
§ Some proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and/or Cantonese highly preferred,.
§ Demonstrated fundraising capacity.
§ Demonstrated experience with grant administration.
§ Demonstrated teamwork and project management skills.
§ Ability to work flexibly on a range of assignments, and adjust to and prioritize a variety of complex and evolving tasks.
§ Excellent interpersonal, verbal communication and writing skills, as well as the ability to develop effective multi-agency/institutional relationships.
§ Interest and willingness to regularly travel to China.

Selection Criteria

§ Candidate must have an outstanding academic record with a J.D. and
§ at least 3 years of relevant work experience
§ Understanding of environmental and energy law.
§ Experience working with environmental and energy law networks in the US and China.
§ Experience and understanding of USAID regulations and processes, helpful.
§ Demonstrated achievement in positions that require strong analytical and writing skills.
§ Work experience with national and international policymakers, helpful.
§ Has presented to audiences in a variety of cultural and institutional settings.
§ Work or living experience in China highly preferred.

For more information about Vermont Law School and the Partnership for Environmental Law in China, please see

To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and references to Diane Hayes, Director of Human Resources, Vermont Law School, PO Box 96, South Royalton, VT 05068. Electronic applications are preferred and can be sent to Applications will be considered as they are submitted. The position will remain open until filled.