Tim Franco

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Urban Farmers in Chongqing

Tim Franco

It’s a feature of the landscape one sees throughout China. On the sides of roads, at the edges of construction sites, on the steep banks of rivers, and in pastures that wrap around the fat pylons of future highways, Chinese people are farming, tilling tiny jewel-like plots that may only last a season, or rushing a herd of goats or a flock of ducks through traffic.As its leaders often remind the world, China has twenty-two percent of the world’s population, but less than ten percent of its arable land (as much as one fifth of which, it was recently reported, is severely polluted). People find ways to make up for the shortfall. For centuries officials have complained of peasants cultivating...


Ji Zhe—Xinhua/Zuma Press

China Deepens Planned Cuts to Carbon Intensity

Stronger Emissions Curbs Announced in Paris, Five Months Before U.N. Conference There

via chinadialogue

China has mapped out how it will try and peak greenhouse emissions by 2030 or before, details that could have a major bearing on U.N. climate talks aimed at delivering a deal in Paris later this year.The world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases “will work hard” to peak its CO2 emissions before 2030, Premier Li Keqiang said at a summit meeting with the French government in Paris ahead of the climate plan’s publication in Beijing and submission to the U.N.’s climate arm.The document said China plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy 60-65 percent per unit of GDP by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, and reiterated a previously-announced aim that renewables should make up 20...


(AFP/Getty Images)

China Starts to Play Nice with Foreign Aid Partners

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more via China Africa Project

New research from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in China indicates Beijing is starting to be more open about its international aid programs. If so, this would mark a significant change from the past where the Chinese government was often criticized for its lack of transparency in how it disperses overseas development assistance.The UNDP’s findings were published this month in a report, “Demand-Driven Data: How Partner Countries are Gathering Chinese Development Cooperation Information.” Beijing’s apparent willingness to be more open about its expanding aid agenda comes as other major donors are also increasing their development assistance, particularly in Africa, following a...


Wang Zhao—AFP/Getty Images

Tesla’s Ambitious Quest for Traction in China

via Caixin

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk was mobbed like a pop star last year while introducing Chinese consumers to his U.S. company’s Model S electric car.Amid the frenzy, the American billionaire-entrepreneur ambitiously predicted China would account for up to 35 percent of his car company’s global sales in 2014.The prediction proved wrong. In fact, Tesla’s China sales were so disappointing that the company’s China division dismissed two chief executives within a few months of Musk’s visit in April.{node, 9951}Based on vehicle licensing data compiled by the China Automobile Dealers Association, Tesla’s China unit sold only 2,499 electric cars last year, or barely half the number of Model S...


Gilles Sabrié

On the Kang: A Chinese Family Album

Portraits from the Heart of the Home

Gilles Sabrié

In rural northern China, the kang is the heart of the home. The two meter wide brick platforms, heated beneath by a coal, wood, straw, or corn cob fire, are hearth, family bed, and living room all rolled into one. Especially during the winter when fields are frozen and work can be scarce, families often spend the better part of the day on the kang, chatting, dining, and playing, before returning to sleep.The photos in this series, shot in March and April of 2015 in Gansu province, use natural light to turn the kang into a kind of studio set for family portraits.I have paired the portraits with details of the families’ homes; elaborate embroidery, posters of tropical resorts, carefully tied...


Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images

A Partnership with China to Avoid World War

George Soros

International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The U.N. has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the World Trade Organization hasn’t concluded a major trade round since 1994. The International Monetary Fund’s legitimacy is increasingly questioned because of its outdated governance, and the G20, which emerged during the financial crisis of 2008 as a potentially powerful instrument of international cooperation, seems to have lost its way. In all areas, national, sectarian, business, and other special interests take precedence over the common...


Peter Parks—AFP/Getty Images

High Off the Hog

China’s new urbanites eat more meat than their rural forbears. Can farms and world meat production adapt?

Stefani Kim

Hongshaorou—“red braised” pork belly, a classic Chinese dish—is cooked with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce until the squares of fatty meat are so tender they dissolve in the mouth. Once a luxury, this succulent delicacy was known to be a favorite meal of Chairman Mao Zedong, but today is enjoyed by both ordinary Chinese and wealthy alike, a symbol of China’s shift from an agrarian to an industrialized economy.As more Chinese are lifted into the urban middle class from rural poverty, meat has become a staple of their diets. China is already the world’s largest pork consumer—the country consumes about 58 million tons of pork per year, according to a 2015 USDA livestock report—and will need to...

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Reuters

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