Monday, September 1, 2014

China’s environment lawyer serves poor | Inquirer Global Nation

China’s environment lawyer serves poor | Inquirer Global Nation:
 "MANILA, Philippines–He may be short in height, but 56-year-old Chinese lawyer Wang Canfa is a giant and the poor’s champion against unscrupulous businesses hurting them and the environment. For almost two decades, Wang, a legal scholar specializing in environmental law, has represented his country’s downtrodden who, due to poverty, have been powerless and voiceless against erring huge companies.

Through the Beijing-based Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV), which he formed in 1998, the lawyer has pursued hundreds of cases and offered free legal services to poor clients. “Most of my clients are poor. Can you imagine how pollution results in the loss of property and livelihood?” Wang said, speaking through a translator, in an interview with the Inquirer. In ceremonies Sunday, Wang accepted the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, with four other individuals and an organization from Pakistan. The awards, named after the well-loved Philippine President who died in a plane crash in 1957, are given annually to honor those who have rendered selfless service to the people of Asia and have made valuable contributions in addressing issues of human development.
Besides Wang, the awardees this year are Hu Shuli, a Chinese investigative journalist; Saur Marlina Manurung, an Indonesian anthropologist; Omara Khan Masoudi, director of the National Museum of Afghanistan; Filipino schoolteacher Randy Halasan; and the Citizens Foundation in Pakistan. Unenforced laws Years back, Wang, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, helped draft environmental laws for China. But while the laws protecting the environment are in place, his main concern is that they have not been enforced."
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