Last Saturday evening, I attended my first Beijing Community Dinner, which featured Li Bo, the outgoing director of Beijing’s oldest NGO, Friends of Nature. He spoke about the the first non-victim public interest environmental lawsuit Friends of Nature and other NGOs within China are currently trying to litigate to stop polluters in Yunnan. He painted a bleak picture overall in terms of the ability of NGOs and citizens in China to successfully win such lawsuits, in particular because the burden falls on the plaintiffs to provide evidence that the companies are emitting dangerous amounts of chromium and it is negatively impacting the environment and health of the neighboring villages. In many cases, plaintiffs are ordinary citizens who lack capacity and expertise to collect data and evidence to support their cases. Although China’s laws on the books allow for these public interest lawsuits to be brought to court, in reality, it is very difficult for plaintiffs to win because of the inconsistent implementation and procedures for such cases. It seems that the challenge is really in the rule of law, and not the laws themselves.