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Environment

07.21.16

Chengdu’s Pollution Is Complicated by Taxi Apps

from chinadialogue
As taxi driver Zhou pulls away from Chengdu North Railway Station, he looks back out the window at his colleagues, crowing: “The airport! I’ve got an airport one!”It’s a rare success. Three long rows of taxis stand outside this rail station in the...

China Floods: At Least 75 Dead or Missing

BBC
Authorities have mobilized troops and heavy equipment across China.

Environment

07.19.16

Schoolkids Suffer Toxic Air at Recycled Rubber Athletic Tracks

Michael Zhao
Chinese are known for recycling, and recycling everything. The industry is even responsible for making billionaires, like China’s “wastepaper queen” Zhang Yin.Yet when factories recycle irresponsibly, the consequences can be dire. Reports...

Environment

07.14.16

South China Faces Worst Floods in Decades

from chinadialogue
It’s like someone poked a hole in the sky, the rain just keeps pouring down, you can’t breathe,” said Mrs Wu from Donghu, a district in Wuhan a city in central China with over 10 million residents. Mrs Wu lives in Chunshuli, an affluent neighborhood...

Greenpeace Warns Over China’s Excess Power Capacity

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
Overcapacity is dogging swathes of Chinese industry, including steel and petrochemicals, stifling profitability and damaging the environment.

China, Sweltering, Doles Out Subsidies for High Heat

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The government appears to be trying to raise consciousness of the heat subsidies.

Features

07.12.16

You Ask How Deeply I Love You

Anna Beth Keim
“Back when I was a soldier on Kinmen, around 1975, the water demons still sometimes killed people,” Xu Shifu (Master Xu) said. The laugh-lines at the corners of his eyes were not visible now, even in the white fluorescent light shining down from the...

Conversation

07.12.16

China’s Claims in the South China Sea Rejected

Andrew S. Erickson, Peter Dutton & more
On Tuesday in the Hague, the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected China’s claims that a scattering of rocks and reefs in the contested South China Sea qualify as Exclusive Economic Zones for China. The court found in favor of the Philippines’...

Russia Stalls China’s $1 Billion Hydropower Loan for Mongolia

Michael Kohn
Bloomberg
The Kremlin said the hydropower project in northern Mongolia could threaten Lake Baikal 580 kilometers downstream.

China to Pillory, or Praise, Cities Based on Water Pollution

Edward Wong
New York Times
Water and soil pollution have received less attention than foul air but are just as hazardous, if not more so.

China’s Devastating Floods Can Be Traced Back to Corruption and Overbuilding

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Scandals are not uncommon in China’s flood-control projects.

Environment

07.06.16

China-Backed Hydropower Project Could Disturb a Sensitive Siberian Ecosystem

from Rivers without Boundaries
Lake Baikal contains 20 percent of the world’s freshwater resources and affects the regional climate of North Asia and the Arctic Basin. The lake is home to 2,500 aquatic species and local communities in Mongolia and Russia revere the lake as the “...

‘Unprecedented’: Trash From China Swamps Hong Kong Beaches

James Griffiths
CNN
Mountains of garbage are meters high at a popular beach....

Torrential Rain Wreaks Havoc in Central, Eastern China but Yangtze Flood Risks Diminish

Li Jing
South China Morning Post
El Nino reaches Central China, flood controll efforts reach a critical state....

Depth of Field

07.01.16

Tornados and Drag Queens

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Being a photojournalist involves reacting to breaking news, a dedication to long-term projects, and everything in between. This month’s showcase of work by Chinese photographers published in Chinese media underscores this range of angles: from the...

Namibia’s Chinese Ivory Smugglers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Namibia is the rare country in Africa that seems to be holding its own against ivory poachers. Whereas in most other southern African countries the elephant population is being decimated, in Namibia, according to the government, the number of...

What China’s Successful Reforestation Program Means for the Rest of the World

Elizabeth Shockman
Public Radio International
China, as it turns out, is looking elsewhere to get the lumber it needs.

Caixin Media

06.24.16

China Has a Plan to Clean Up Its Soil But No Way to Pay For It

The 231-clause, 13,000-Chinese character action plan for Soil Pollution Prevention and Control was released May 31 by the State Council, China’s cabinet, after undergoing some 50 draft revisions over the previous three years.The final version was...

China Vows to Replace ‘Poisonous’ Running Tracks at Schools

Owen Guo
New York Times
The Ministry of Education said it would inspect synthetic rubber tracks in schools across China during the summer break.

A ‘Black and Smelly’ Job: The Search for China’s Most Polluted Rivers

Tom Phillips
Guardian
China gives anyone with a smartphone a chance to orchestrate a much needed clean-up....

Books

06.22.16

Tibetan Environmentalists in China

Liu Jianqiang
This book weaves together the life stories of five extraordinary contemporary Tibetans involved in environmental protection (as well as a host of secondary characters): Tashi Dorje, a well-known and celebrated environmentalist; Karma Samdrup, a philanthropist, businessman, and environmentalist; Rinchen Samdrup, Karma’s brother, another extraordinary environmentalist; Gendun, a painter, historian, and researcher from Amdo; and Musuo, a Tibetan from the Dechin area of northwest Yunnan who founded the Khawakarpo Culture Society.In the politically fraught and ever-worsening situation for Tibetans within China today, it is often said that the only possible path for a better solution will be through a change in the way that the majority Chinese society thinks about and understands Tibetans, their aspirations, histories, and desires. This book provides the first such account by drawing readers in with beautiful narrative prose and fascinating stories, and then using their attention to demystify Tibetans, cultivating in the reader a sense of empathy as well as facts upon which to rebuild an intercultural understanding. It is the first work that seriously aims to let the Chinese public understand Tibetans as both products of an admirable culture and as complex individuals negotiating religious ideals, economic change, and sociopolitical constraints. In short it opens up a whole new way of understanding Tibet. —Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington Books {chop}

China Prosecutors Win Landmark Lawsuit Against Environmental Department

Brenda Goh
Reuters
First public interest case vs. government department producing dyes with inappropriate safeguards....

China’s Last Wild River Carries Conflicting Environmental Hopes

Edward Wong
New York Times
With global temperatures rising, can China afford to protect its rivers and forgo an alternative to the coal-fired plants responsible for much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions?

China Orders 255 Shanghai Industrial Facilities to Shut for G20

Meng Meng and Chen Aizhu
Reuters
The document, issued by the Shanghai Environment Protection Bureau, has ordered a wide range of companies to shut down for 14 days ahead of the G20 meet in Hangzhou.

China Climate Goals Trigger Launch of New Derivatives

Kathy Chen
Reuters
China’s clean energy pledges are prompting a supply of new financing tools to fund the estimated $6.53 trillion needed to switch from heavy, polluting industries to clean projects.

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

06.09.16

Namibia’s Secret Ivory Business

Shi Yi from chinadialogue
Many locals and wildlife conservation institutions I talked to didn’t even know about the existence of the ivory black market in Okahandja.It was a quiet evening in Zambezi, until a herdsman heard a gunshot in the wilderness. By the time the police...

Animal Advocates Call for End to Dog Meat Festival in China

Shaojie Huang
New York Times
Festival proponents defend the practice as an expression of cultural heritage and argue that eating dogs is no different from eating cows or turkeys.

China Says Important Glacier Is Melting Due To Climate Change

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China promises greenhouse gas emmissions will “peak around 2030,” while mountains melt....

Depth of Field

05.31.16

Families, Weddings, and Beekeepers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month’s Depth of Field column brings the stories of Chinese adoption; the marriage ceremony of Hu Mingliang and Sun Wenlin, a gay couple who filed the first civil rights marriage lawsuit to be accepted by a Chinese court (they lost); beekeepers...

Environment

05.26.16

Beijing Calls South China Sea Island Reclamation a ‘Green Project’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Sand, cement, and Chinese military facilities now sit on top of some of the South China Sea’s once-thriving reefs; China has built over half a dozen new artificial islands in a bid to bolster its territorial claims in the hotly disputed region. Such...

Other

05.23.16

The Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography

In 2014, ChinaFile and the Magnum Foundation founded the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography to support photographers working to address pressing social issues impacting China and its relations with the world that have not received...

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...

Green Space

05.18.16

Time Traveling Through Dramatic Urbanization in China Over Decades

Michael Zhao
Twenty-six years ago, only 26 percent of the Chinese population lived in urban areas. Since then, China’s urbanization rate has risen to almost 56 percent, meaning hundreds of millions of people have packed themselves into the country’s 662 cities...

Conversation

05.16.16

Escalation in the South China Sea

Julian G. Ku, M. Taylor Fravel & more
International tensions are rising over the shipping lanes and land formations in the South China Sea. Last week, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force scrambled fighter jets in response to a U.S. Navy ship sailing near the disputed Fiery Cross Reef...

Environment

05.13.16

Why China's Nuclear Exports May Struggle to Find a Market

from chinadialogue
China’s nuclear power industry has eyed up a big push to export its technologies as countries around the world consider low-carbon alternatives to coal.But despite an increasingly clearer field for Chinese nuclear exports—mainly because of the woes...

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

05.11.16

The Dark Side of Country Life

Michael Zhao
The last time we peeked at Lei Hu’s photo blog, Lei was giving us a cheery look at a China that we rarely get to see: the countryside and its beauty. But there’s a dark side to country life in China, as well, and a new blog post from Lei explores...

Chinese Police Uncover Huge Fake Jellyfish 'Scam'

Martin Yip
BBC
Police in eastern China have raided two fake jellyfish workshops, saying more than 10 tonnes is thought to have made its way into local food markets.

Death Toll Rises to 34 in E China Landslide

Xinhua
The death toll has risen to 34 with four people still missing after a landslide in Taining County in east China's Fujian Province on Sunday...

Media

05.03.16

Scandal Highlights China’s Weak Environmental Enforcement

from chinadialogue
For many Chinese, the country’s soil pollution crisis has become increasingly acute in recent weeks after several hundred children fell ill from attending a school built close to a former fertilizer factory.Almost 500 students at the Changzhou...

Video of Beatings Amid Demolition in China Leads to Official Reprisals

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Officers wearing law enforcement uniforms brandishing clubs, striking women and children cowering at the foot of a wall.

Depth of Field

04.29.16

April’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Over the past few weeks, the publications Sina, Tencent, Caixin, China Youth Daily, and the publishing duo Sixth Tone/The Paper published photo stories on the intimate, the industrial, the private, and the political. Journalists Yan Cong and Ye Ming...

Features

04.22.16

Drinking the Northwest Wind

Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang & more
Like so many of Mao’s pronouncements, it sounded simple. “The South has a lot of water; the North lacks water. So if it can be done, borrowing a little water and bringing it up might do the trick.” And thus, in 1952, the foundation was laid for what...

Environment

04.20.16

Book: ‘Black Dragon River’—Russia’s Wild Window into China

from chinadialogue
Russia’s Far East is supposedly a strategically important area for President Vladimir Putin’s administration, with the government repeatedly declaring that development of the remote territory is one of its top priorities. But, as any Russian expert...

China's Toxic School: Officials Struggle to Contain Uproar over Sick Students

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Illnesses among pupils at Changzhou Foreign Languages School, with highly toxic illegal waste dumping blamed.

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...

China Says 80% of Tested Wells Had Water Too Polluted to Drink

Chris Buckley and Vanessa Piao
New York Times
The numbers upset people who have become increasingly sensitive about health threats from pollution.

Environment

04.08.16

China Pulls Emergency Stop on Coal Power Construction

from chinadialogue
China’s central government has ordered local authorities to delay or cancel construction of new coal-fired power plants, as regulators attempt to reduce a glut in capacity, just one year after decisions were delegated to the provinces.The National...

China Has the Most Coal Plants in the World—and Half the Time They’re Doing Absolutely Nothing

Cassie Werber
Quartz
Time-lag and decentralization of government contributed to excessive coal plants.

China Air Quality Study Has Good News and Bad News

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
PM 2.5 levels in five key cities declined in the past three years, but are still above WHO's upper safety limit...

Environment

03.29.16

Xinjiang Ban on Glacier Tourism Ignores the Bigger Problem

from chinadialogue
The Xinjiang government has banned tourists from glaciers under the 13th Five-Year Plan in order to try and save the far northwestern province’s fast-disappearing ice caps. Home to China’s largest glaciers, the Xinjiang province has seen its...

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...

Q. and A.: Patrick Bergin on China’s Role in Protecting Africa’s Wildlife

Shaojie Huang
New York Times
President Xi Jinping announced that China would “enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export.”

Green Space

03.14.16

Leonardo DiCaprio Wins Oscar and Green Chinese Hearts

Michael Zhao
The Oscars are a big deal among Chinese movie fans. So it was an especially big deal last month when Leonardo DiCaprio, whose fame in China is as big as the name of the film which held the box office crown there from 1997-2009—Titanic—became what...

Conversation

03.11.16

Is China Doing Enough for the Environment?

Deborah Seligsohn, Angel Hsu & more
This week, at their biggest annual session in Beijing, Chinese lawmakers are expected to ratify the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which contains many new measures to address rampant pollution of the country’s air, soil, and water. Will the plan be...

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