Abstract: To address environmental pollution problems in recent years, an important step taken by Chinese government is to construct and strengthen the environmental accountability system to fulfill the responsibility of environmental protection. Policy text is an important entry point for observing the government’s practices. However, scholars rarely utilize text analysis to sort out the evolution of environmental accountability system in China. In this paper, we conduct text analysis under a three-dimensional classification, namely “administrative accountability-legal accountability - social accountability”. Besides, from a perspective of accountability elements, we also track the changes of accountability objects, principles, situation, procedures and results. With the employment of ROST Content Mining 6.0, the results show that during the period of 2000-2017, China’s environmental accountability system evolves from a biased development to a coordinated development, but the coordination remains at a relatively low level. Additionally, environmental accountability system in China starts to transfer from emergency accountability to normal accountability, but still appears to have short-term emergency effects sometimes. Also, it significantly alters from soft accountability to rigid accountability, but there still remains room for environmental opportunism.
Keywords：environmental accountability, policy evolution, text analysis
The Chinese version appeared in Administrative Tribune, 2019(01).