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Infographic: China’s Water Governance Bureaucracy and Water Legislation Timeline

Demystifying China’s governmental water offices and water-related laws.

China’s water is managed by a complex web of ministries, and national, sub-national, and cross-jurisdictional agencies. The dual leadership system—comprised of a territorial and a central government—has a hierarchy in which offices of the two bureaucracies with the same rank cannot issue binding orders to each other. The government has passed and amended many environmental and water-related regulations between 1984 and 2011.

Graphic © Ball State University for Circle of Blue.
Click through the interactive infographic to see how China’s web of ministries, agencies, and various environmental laws overlap and share power with one another.

Map and graphic by Stephanie Stamm, Justin Manning, Stephanie Meredith, and Kate Roesch, undergraduate students at Ball State University.

With contribution by Nadya Ivanova, a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue, and Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum within the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Reach Ivanova at

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