China Shuts Down Tens of Thousands of Factories in Unprecedented Pollution Crackdown

Rob Schmitz
NPR
In the gritty industrial town of Yiwu, workers prepare jeans to be dyed in a vivid range of colors.Two months ago, this factory — and this entire city, located in China's eastern province of Zhejiang — was a much quieter place. Inspection crews...

China's Pollution Crackdown Is Gaining Momentum

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
That political will overlaps with an economic need to rein in surplus production of steel, aluminum and other basic materials after years of over-investment. How and when that capacity gets replaced will be a key factor in the economy’s performance...

China Targets Pollution on Eve of Xi Jinping’s Second Term

Tom Hancock and Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
A wave of environmental inspections in China has led to the closure of tens of thousands of businesses producing commodities from industrial chemicals to cement and rubber, pushing up prices and disrupting some global supply chains.

China Sees Difficulty Meeting 2017 Air Quality Targets: Minister

China faces difficulties in meeting its smog-fighting target for 2017, its environmental protection minister said during a visit to four heavily industrialized provinces in northern China, where the country’s air pollution problem is especially...

China’s Putting the Brakes on Coal for Heating Millions of Homes This Winter

Echo Huang
Quartz
China might start to see better air this winter as it prepares to heat heat millions of houses for the first time by gas, and continues a clampdown on coal to battle its deadly pollution.

Chinese Cities Order Steel Output Cuts Earlier Than Expected to Fend off Smog

South China Morning Post
The city of Handan in the top steelmaking province of Hebei has ordered steel mills to halve output a month earlier than expected, according to media reports, the latest city to ramp up efforts to reduce the smog that blankets northern China during...

China's Pollution Crackdown Shakes up Iron Ore Traders

Neil Hume
Financial Times
Over the summer, price differentials between high and low grade iron ore have intensified amid a government-led crackdown on pollution and outdated steelmaking capacity. That has caught many traders on the hop and left some nursing nasty losses from...

China’s War on Smog Shakes up Ports; Tianjin Loses, Rivals Benefit

Meng Meng and Josephine Mason
Reuters
China’s war on smog is shaking up the country’s busiest ports, which handle billions of tonnes of cargo a year, forcing Tianjin to overhaul its business as northern rivals snare a greater share of vast coal and iron ore shipments, results show.

Chinese Blogger Sorry after Essay Slamming Beijingers’ ‘Fake’ Lives Goes Viral and Is Censored

Eva Li
South China Morning Post
Widely-read blog criticized by state media after it lists complaints about soaring property prices, crowded subways and lack of human warmth in the capital

Environment

07.06.17

Industrial Energy Efficiency Can Improve Air Quality

from chinadialogue
Despite extensive efforts by the Chinese government to improve air quality, including the introduction of the State Council’s “Ten Measures” Action Plan and implementation of regional air quality control measures, air pollution recently worsened in...

Xi Jinping Is Set for a Big Gamble With China’s Carbon Trading Market

Chris Bukcley
New York Times
The start of China’s carbon trading market late this year has been years in the making, but is now shaping up as Mr. Xi’s big policy retort to Mr. Trump’s decision to quit the Paris accord.

China Is Getting Serious about Fighting Climate Change at Home. Abroad, Its Investments Tell a Different Story

Los Angeles Times
China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has in recent years emerged as a global leader in climate action. The country’s use of coal — considered the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change — has dropped every year since...

Conversation

05.25.17

Can Free Speech on American Campuses Withstand Chinese Nationalism?

Yifu Dong, Edward Friedman & more
Earlier this week, Kunming native Yang Shuping, a student at the University of Maryland, gave a commencement speech extolling the “fresh air” and “free speech” she experienced while studying in the United States. Video of her speech spread on the...

Chinese Student’s Commencement Speech in U.S. Isn’t Going over Well in China

NPR
A Chinese student who praised the “fresh air of free speech” in the U.S. during her commencement address at the University of Maryland is facing an online backlash from classmates and from people in China who say she insulted her own country.

China’s Huge Dam Projects Will Threaten Southeast Asia as Water Scarcity Builds Downstream

Daniel Rechtschaffen
Forbes
A river is born high in the Tibetan Plateau, before snaking its way 3,000 miles south and emptying itself into the South China Sea.

China to Plant ‘Green Necklace’ of Trees Around Beijing to Fight Smog

New York Times
The pollution from the factories is responsible for much of the smog in Beijing, a city of more than 22 million, and other parts of northern China.

Cities and Data: China’s Weapons in the Battle for Clean Air

Vincent Ni
BBC
China is proud of the fact that its air quality readings have improved in recent years, if only slightly, with lingering smog in industrial areas.

Chinese People Are Buying All Kinds of Desperate Remedies to Protect Themselves from Smog

Charlie Campbell
Time
Air purifiers, meanwhile, are becoming cheaper and more efficient. Chinese tech firm Xiaomi leads the way with its Mi Air Purifier Pro, boasting a dual-fan, dual-motor system with ”high-precision laser sensor.” 

India’s Air Pollution Rivals China’s as World’s Deadliest

Geeta Anand
New York Times
India’s rapidly worsening air pollution is causing about 1.1 million people to die prematurely each year and is now surpassing China’s as the deadliest in the world, a new study of global air pollution shows. 

‘We Had to Sue’: The Five Lawyers Taking on China’s Authorities over Smog

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
In an unprecedented legal case, a group of Chinese lawyers have charged the governments of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei with failing to protect their citizens from air pollution, which is linked to a third of all deaths in the country

In China, Pollution Fears Are Both Literal and Metaphorical

Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Benjamin Van...
NPR
Last month, as China encountered some of its worst pollution yet, artists in Chengdu did something bold: They put smog-filtering cotton masks over the faces of statues representing ordinary urbanites that dot a centrally located shopping street.

Don’t Blame the Weather For China’s Smog

Junfeng Zhang
Fortune
China’s air quality has been particularly bad so far this winter. Severe smog or haze episodes have occurred one after another with short breaks in between,

China’s Neighbors Are Getting a Whiff of Its Terrible Pollution

Echo Huang
Quartz
Turns out China isn’t the only country choking on its smog. In the first week of 2017, more than half of Chinese cities suffered from air pollution, and 31 of them issued a red alert, which requires measures like limiting car usage and closing...

China Gets Tough on Smog Offenders

Joshua Berlinger
CNN
China has slapped millions of dollars worth of fines on alleged offenders for violating anti-pollution rules, according to state media.

China Smog: Millions Start New Year Shrouded by Health Alerts and Travel Chaos

Guardian
Millions in China rang in the New Year shrouded in a thick blanket of toxic smog, causing road closures and flight cancellations as 24 cities issued alerts that will last through much of the week. On the first day of 2017 in Beijing, concentrations...

Students in China Were Made to Take Exams Outdoors in Toxic Smog

Kevin Lui
Time
Widely circulated photos of the students, sitting at desks while blanketed in choking pollution, starkly dramatize the Chinese "airpocalypse"...

Smog Refugees Flee Chinese Cities as ‘Airpocalypse’ Blights Half a Billion

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Thousands head to pollution-free regions as haze descends on the country’s northern industrial heartland

China Chokes on Smog So Bad that Planes Can't Land

John Bacon
USA Today
Major cities across northern China choked Monday under a blanket of smog so thick that industries were ordered shut down and air and ground traffic was disrupted

China Has Made Strides in Addressing Air Pollution, Environmentalists Say

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
Ma Jun, the director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, says transparency is up and pollution is down

China Riot Police Seal Off City Center After Smog Protestors Put Masks on Statues

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
Clampdown in Chengdu after protesters place masks on statues in anger at air pollution choking the city

Going Green in China, Where Climate Change Isn’t Considered a Hoax

Matthew Kahn
Salon
Chinese leaders want to improve the quality of life in their nation's cities...

Despite Climate Change Vow, China Pushes to Dig More Coal

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Desperate to deliver coal before power stations run out, China mobilizes trains and half-mile lines of trucks

China Risks Wasting $490 Billion on New Coal Plant, Say Campaigners

AFP
Guardian
Carbon Tracker says many plants running at overcapacity but China reluctant to wean itself off coal, fearing unemployment and unrest

Environment

11.16.16

The Future of Public Interest Litigation in China

from chinadialogue
China has seen a rapid growth in environmental public interest legal challenges since January 2015, when a revised version of the Environmental Protection Law (EPL) came into effect. Nearly 100 lawsuits have been filed by both NGOs and public...

In China, It’s Always Greener on the Other Side

Matthew Kahn
Salon
China is making the difficult transition to cleaner energy, but their efforts will help mitigate climate change

China Officials Stuff Cotton Gauze into Air Monitoring Equipment to Falsify Results

Neil Connor
Telegraph
The environmental officials had also tampered with computers to alter the results of pollution monitoring in the northern city of Xi’an

Environment

10.25.16

China is Demanding Cleaner Shipping—So Should the Rest of the World

Barbara A. Finamore from chinadialogue
Last year, in response to growing awareness of severe air pollution problems in China’s coastal cities, the Chinese government adopted a ground-breaking program to cut pollution from ships. At its core is a commitment to reduce the sulfur content of...

China Returns to Pedal Power

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
With roads becoming less navigable by the day, citizens, entrepreneurs and the government are looking for alternatives. The solution: bring back the bike

China Tops WHO List for Deadly Outdoor Air Pollution

Adam Vaughan
Guardian
More than 1 million people died from dirty air in one year

China’s Coal Cap Will Bite

David Fickling
Bloomberg
Can the shift to more domestic output be met without blanketing China's cities in smog?...

Volkswagen in Talks to Make Electric Cars in China

Rose Yu
Wall Street Journal
The German car maker has signed a memorandum of cooperation with China Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co.

Environment

08.29.16

Environmental Law Blunted by Crippling Court Costs

from chinadialogue
Zhenhua Ltd. is a glass-making firm based in Dezhou, a city in China’s northeastern Shandong province. The factory sits amid a cluster of modern residential areas, so when the company failed to limit its emissions of polluted air and dust into the...

Environment

07.21.16

Chengdu’s Pollution Is Complicated by Taxi Apps

from chinadialogue
Research carried out by Peking University’s Statistical Science Centre and Guanghua School of Management found that Chengdu suffers from air pollution 88 percent of the time—even worse than Beijing at 76 percent.

Environment

06.16.16

Can Cement Clean Up Its Act?

from chinadialogue
Cement is the most widely used substance on the planet after water. It is also one of the most polluting—producing between 5-8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than twice that attributed to aviation. Cement’s carbon footprint...

Environment

05.19.16

Clear as Mud: How Poor Data is Thwarting Water Clean-Up

from chinadialogue
China’s central and local governments have barely made a start in trying to clean up the country’s heavily polluted water, despite fast-approaching deadlines for improvements and the launch of a comprehensive “ten point plan” over a year ago.Behind...

The $Mog Economy: Bottled Air Takes off as a Big Business in China

Joanna Chiu
Mashable
Moses Lam was an overworked mortgage broker when he started selling bags of air from Canada on eBay as a joke.

Green Space

04.13.16

Chinese Love Affair with Cars, and Tesla

Michael Zhao
Chinese love their cars. With the emergence of a large middle class, and in spite of restrictions on daily car use in some cities, many Chinese households are choosing to keep a second and sometimes even a third automobile. The world’s most populous...

Green Space

03.25.16

Facebook CEO Defies China Smog; Spoof Projects Nostril-Hair Air Filters

Michael Zhao
At least a few of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users now know that founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ran several miles in some of Beijing’s most notorious smog on Friday March 18 while he was in the city attending a conference. Famously sharing his...

Environment

03.10.16

How China’s 13th Five-Year Plan Addresses Energy and the Environment

Deborah Seligsohn & Angel Hsu
For the first time ever, a senior Chinese leader announced in his work report to the National People’s Congress—his most important formal speech of the year—that environmental violators and those who fail to report such violations will be “severely...

Green Space

02.29.16

The Odd Shapes of PM2.5

Michael Zhao
A recent episode of “Approaching Science,” a CCTV documentary series, discussed the smog that’s been choking the mainland for the past few years. The show interviews scientists and laypeople to paint a comprehensive picture of the challenges that...

Green Space

02.04.16

Rescuing China’s Abused Animals

Michael Zhao
We start with a heartwarming note, which I recently heard about in a New Year’s greeting from Animals Asia, a NGO started by Jill Robinson, originally from the U.K., in Chengdu to rescue Asian bears from their torture-chamber-like cages throughout...

Green Space

01.27.16

Kunming’s Stinky Lake, Beijing’s Saving Winds

Michael Zhao
Lake Dian in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, suffered greatly when, in the 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong called on the Chinese people to “conquer nature” and reclaim land by filling lakes with soil.Nowadays, Dianchi, as it’s...

Sinica Podcast

01.27.16

Air Pollution and Climate Change

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Deborah Seligsohn, former science counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and currently a doctoral candidate at the University of California, San Diego, where she studies environmental...

Green Space

12.22.15

Nu River Saved, Jack Ma Buys Preservation Land

Michael Zhao
A great piece of news came from China on the night of December 16, that the Yunnan provincial government in southwest China has announced its decision to not develop hydro-electric projects on the Nu River, also known as the Salween (link in Chinese...

Media

12.15.15

The Proletariat Experience of Beijing’s Airpocalypse

On December 8, a Tuesday, a man surnamed Cao piloted his electric scooter along Beijing’s profoundly hazy streets, parking in front of one towering apartment complex after another to deliver packages. Although the government had just issued a “red...

Green Space

12.15.15

China is ‘Rational’ Leader on Climate Change, Says Retired NASA Scientist James Hansen

Michael Zhao
James Hansen, retired NASA scientist and “father of climate change awareness,” believes China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, will now step up to provide the carbon emissions reduction leadership lacking from the U.S., according to a Guardian...

China to Receive $300m Loan to Combat Pollution Levels

BBC
The ADB said that poor air quality had reached such a serious level that it was "jeopardising health and sustainable growth"...

Green Space

12.11.15

Tiananmen Police Don Smog Masks, Wind Makes or Breaks the Blue Sky

Michael Zhao
Now that Beijing has had its first red alert since institutionalizing its smog alert system in 2013, it was news when the special forces who guard Tiananmen Square were seen, for the first time, wearing face masks to protect them from the smog, too...

Polluted Skies Heighten Challenge for Chinese Government

EDWARD WONG
New York Times
Red has been considered the color of prosperity and good fortune in China for centuries, and it is also the color of the Communist Party.

Amid China’s Smog Worries, One More: Counterfeit Masks

VANESSA PIAO
New York Times
The customs authorities in Shanghai have seized nearly 120,000 counterfeit surgical masks.