China's top court has ordered judges to do more research in environmental cases related to the Yangtze River, to better protect the area and ensure justice is done.
In a guideline issued on Monday, the Supreme People's Court said civil and criminal court judges should pay greater attention when handling trials involving pollution or the killing of endangered wildlife.
Cases related to sustainable development, such as ecological compensation and green finance, should also receive more consideration, "as they are new kinds of environmental disputes", said Jiang Bixin, vice-president of SPC.
He said all judges should see environmental protection as a priority and work with governments to protect the river's diverse ecology.
The Yangtze River Economic Zone covers 11 regions, including Anhui province, Shanghai and Chongqing.
In March 2016, the central government released a development outline for the zone that highlighted the importance of environmental protection and stated that economic activity cannot harm the ecology.