China faces an immense water crisis characterized by serious water pollution and water scarcity. The country’s rapid economic development over the past decades occurred without the restrictions of environmental protection standards. In the past twenty years, China has made great strides towards environmental protection, including developing one of the world’s most comprehensive set of environmental laws. However, the condition of China’s water continues to devolve as issues of enforcement prevent environmental law from becoming reality. This enforcement gap is the primary issue in China’s environmental policy. Prioritization of the economy over the environment, decentralization of enforcement power, powerless NGOs and EPBs, along with corruption and low public awareness of environmental issues create an enforcement gap that highlights weaknesses in the Chinese system and poses a sustainability threat to China and the global community. China’s water and environment cannot see significant improvements until the policies set out by the central government are enforced at the national and local levels.

First Advisor

Nick Kontogeorgopoulos

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in International Political Economy

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2016