Environment

10.03.18

The Anti-Corruption Campaign Takes on the War on Pollution

Julia Bowie
At last year’s 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping vowed to confront the “principle contradiction” facing Chinese society: “the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.” While the...

Infographics

08.15.18

Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that Xi Jinping launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about more than 2,000 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.

Books

08.08.18

Poisonous Pandas

Matthew Kohrman, Gan Quan, Liu Wennan, Robert N. Proctor
Stanford University Press: A favorite icon for cigarette manufacturers across China since the mid-20th century has been the panda, with factories from Shanghai to Sichuan using cuddly cliché to market tobacco products. The proliferation of panda-branded cigarettes coincides with profound, yet poorly appreciated, shifts in the worldwide tobacco trade. Over the last 50 years, transnational tobacco companies and their allies have fueled a tripling of the world’s annual consumption of cigarettes. At the forefront is the China National Tobacco Corporation, now producing 40 percent of cigarettes sold globally. What’s enabled the manufacturing of cigarettes in China to flourish since the time of Mao and to prosper even amidst public health condemnation of smoking?In Poisonous Pandas, an interdisciplinary group of scholars comes together to tell that story. They offer novel portraits of people within the Chinese polity―government leaders, scientists, tax officials, artists, museum curators, and soldiers―who have experimentally revamped the country’s pre-Communist cigarette supply chain and fitfully expanded its political, economic, and cultural influence. These portraits cut against the grain of what contemporary tobacco-control experts typically study, opening a vital new window on tobacco―the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide today.{chop}Related Reading:“In China, Industry Push-Back Stubs out Anti-Smoking Gains,” Christian Shepherd, Reuters, May 31, 2018“China’s Ministry in Charge of Tobacco Control Had Ties to the Tobacco Industry. Not Anymore,” Sidney Leng, South China Morning Post, March 15, 2018“The End of China’s ‘Ashtray Diplomacy’,” Heather Timmons and Quartz, The Atlantic, December 30, 2013“The Political Mapping of China’s Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign,” Cheng Li, Brookings, May 30, 2012Author’s Recommendations:Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Rob Nixon (Harvard University Press, 2013)Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?, Judith Butler (Verso; Reprint edition 2010)Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Giorgio Agamben, Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford University Press, 1998)

Conversation

08.07.18

We’re a Long Way from 2008

Kate Merkel-Hess, Maura Cunningham & more
On August 8, 2008, China’s then Chairman Hu Jintao told a group of world leaders visiting Beijing to attend the Olympics that “the historic moment we have long awaited is arriving.” Indeed, awarding the Games to China in 2001 sparked a fierce debate...

How Taming the Mekong Could Give China Unprecedented Power

Jason Koutsoukis
Bloomberg
The deadly collapse of one of the dozen or so dams dotted along the Mekong River and its tributaries has highlighted the rapid development of a waterway that is increasingly important strategically for China and its neighbors.

China’s Gas Tariffs Are a Permian-Size Problem for Oil

Liam Denning
Bloomberg
The latest bit of America’s energy sector to feel the over-the-shoulder lash is the liquefied natural gas-export business. On Friday, LNG joined the list of goods that China will hit with tariffs in retaliation for U.S. ones. This...

Depth of Field

06.28.18

Staying on Point in Rural China

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this edition of Depth of Field: aspiring ballerinas, what’s beneath the gilt in a rich Zhejiang town, worn out doctors, disappearing schools, melting snow, data farms, and the powerful appeal of dancing outdoors.

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

China Gave Trump a List of Crazy Demands, and He Caved to One of Them

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
China’s list of economic and trade demands that suggest its negotiating position.

Another Problem with China’s Coal: Mercury in Rice

Noelle Eckley Selin and Sae Yun Kwon
The Conversation
Mercury enters rice through local industrial activities and through burning coal.

China Is Fueling a New ‘Resource Curse’ — and Riots around the World

Renard Sexton
Washington Post
During the past 15 years, China’s demand for primary commodities has triggered a dramatic increase in natural resource extraction in the developing world.

China Refuses to Recycle More of the World’s Trash

Daniel Shane
CNN
For decades, other countries shipped containers full of scrap and waste to China for recycling. 

How Clean Indoor Air Is Becoming China's Latest Luxury Must-Have

Helen Roxburgh
Guardian
One luxury hotel in Shanghai is attracting guests with clean filtered air.

China Needs More Water. So It's Building a Rain-Making Network Three Times the Size of Spain

Stephen Chen
South China Morning Post
China tests weather modification system to bring more rain to Tibet.

How China’s Government Has Changed after the NPC

BBC
BBC
A stronger military and more power to fight corruption are among the major changes revealed at China’s National People's Congress (NPC) this year...

China and the Philippines Will Work Together to Tap the South China Sea’s Vast Oil Deposits

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
China needs fuel to grow the world’s second-largest economy by 6.5% this year as established this week at annual legislative sessions.

China Tests Giant Air Cleaner to Combat Smog

David Cyranoski
Nature
A 60-metre-high chimney stands among a sea of high-rise buildings in one of China’s most polluted cities.

China’s Caves Are Hiding Plants That Exist Nowhere Else in the World

Amanda Erickson
Washington Post
At first glance, a cave doesn’t seem the likeliest home for exotically lush flora. It’s dark, damp and dingy, more likely to host sparkly stalagmites than bristly bushes.

Depth of Field

02.20.18

When You Give a Kid a Camera

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This dispatch of photojournalism from China cuts across a broad spectrum of society, from film screenings in Beijing for the visually impaired to an acrobatics school 200 miles south, in Puyang, Henan province, and from children in rural Sichuan to...

Small Earthquake Rattles China's Capital, Beijing

Reuters Staff
Reuters
A 4.3 magnitude quake centered just south of Beijing in the neighboring province of Hebei.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Kills More Than 100 in China This Year

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Gas poisonings in southern China have left at least 104 people dead and hundreds hospitalized.

Media

02.02.18

Chinese Civil Society in 2018: What’s Ahead?

Wang Yongmei, Anthony Saich & more
The impetus for this event is it’s about a year since the new Foreign NGO Law was implemented in China. There was also another law implemented in 2016, the Charity Law, that governs how domestic NGOs function in China. But there’s a lot more going...

Conversation

02.01.18

Should Pacific Island Nations Be Wary of Chinese Influence?

Jenny Hayward-Jones, Graeme Smith & more
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-day visit to China, from January 31 to February 2, has amplified ongoing debates in Europe about the costs and benefits of engagement with China and of Chinese investment. Attention to China’s role in...

China Moves to Protect Coastal Wetlands Used by Migratory Birds

Erik Stokstad
Science
China has armored its coastline over the past several decades, building sea walls and turning more than half of its marine wetlands into solid ground for development.

Hong Kong Drowning in Waste as China Rubbish Ban Takes Toll

Farah Master
Reuters
Hong Kong boasts glittering skyscrapers, seamless transportation and billion dollar infrastructure projects, but it is struggling with a much more mundane problem: disposing of its trash.

China to Develop Arctic Shipping Routes Opened by Global Warming

BBC
China has announced plans to develop shipping lanes through the Arctic to become a "Polar Silk Route"...

Did Trump Just Start a Trade War with China?

Daniel Shane
CNN
President Trump's decision Monday to slap tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines risks inflaming tensions with China and other big U.S. trade partners...

Conversation

01.18.18

Are China’s Blue Skies Here to Stay?

Li Shuo, Angel Hsu & more
In mid-January, the environmental group Greenpeace announced dramatic improvements in air quality across China. In 74 Chinese cities, measurements of PM2.5, the fine particles that have been a major contributor to the country’s choked skies,...

Oil Spill off China Coast Now the Size of Paris

CNN
An oil spill from an Iranian oil tanker that sank in the East China Sea is now the size of Paris.

Huge Oil Spill Spreads in East China Sea, Stirring Environmental Fears

Gerry Mullany
New York Times
Greenpeace said the disaster occurred in “an important spawning ground” for fish.

A Blue Sky in Beijing? It's Not a Fluke, Says Greenpeace

New York Times
Winters in Beijing have long been choked by thick, dusty, toxic smog. But this winter, the sky has taken on a once seemingly unthinkable hue: blue.

China Is Winning Its War on Air Pollution, at Least in Beijing

Bloomberg
China is seeing signs of success in its fight against smog as pollution levels slump dramatically in the capital region Beijing.

East China Sea Oil Tanker Burns for Third Day as Winds, High Waves Lash Rescuers

Josephine Mason, Yuna Park
Reuters
The poor conditions, with rain and waves as high as 3 meters (10 feet), frustrated efforts to tame the fire and search for the 31 remaining tanker crew members, China’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement on Tuesday.

China Unveils an Ambitious Plan to Curb Climate Change Emissions

Keith Bradsher and Lisa Friedman
New York Times
China released plans on Tuesday to start a giant market to trade credits for the right to emit planet-warming greenhouse gases. The nationwide market would initially cover only China’s vast, state-dominated power generation sector, which produced...

The China-India Row That Spells Disaster for Flood Victims

Navin Singh Khadka
BBC
Fear of flooding has been growing in the Indian state of Assam ever since upstream China stopped sharing river data crucial for issuing early warnings.

China Plans to Kill Local Subsidies for Electric Cars

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
The Ministry of Finance is working on a plan that would mandate authorities to phase out the incentives to discourage protectionism and help rein in state expenditure, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing...

Viewpoint

12.14.17

Can Environmental Lawsuits in China Succeed?

Stanley Lubman
Air and water pollution are rising in China, and so is the number of lawsuits against polluters. Access to the courts is growing: Chinese prosecutors and some NGOs have been empowered to sue polluters, and activist lawyers increasingly participate...

Need Stretchy Pants? China's Energy Squeeze May Mean Higher Prices

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Homes, businesses and even hospitals across northern China are running short of natural gas. Some schoolchildren are shivering. And in the chemical industry — well, the spandex supply is getting tight.

Rich Countries Are Reducing Their Emissions—by Exporting Them to China

Quartz
Historical greenhouse-gas emissions data make clear that much of the burden of climate change lies with rich countries. The US, the UK, Germany, and others built their economies burning fossil fuels without thinking about the consequences.

Conversation

12.06.17

Apple in China: WTF?

Samuel Wade, Shaun Rein & more
In November, the non-profit watchdog Freedom House called China “the worst abuser of Internet freedom” of the 65 countries it surveyed. And yet, on December 3, Apple CEO Tim Cook keynoted China’s annual World Internet Conference. “The theme of this...

China Will Lead an Electric Car Future, Ford's Chairman Says

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The world’s automakers are just starting to bet on an electric car future — and already, one of the most powerful people in the industry says that future belongs to China.

China Province near North Korea Warns about the Dangers of Nuclear War

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
A provincial state newspaper on China’s border with North Korea spooked a few people Wednesday by dedicating an entire page to advice for local residents on how they might survive a nuclear war.

China’s Drive for Cleaner Energy Is Causing a Gas Shortage for Winter

Huileng Tan
CNBC
China's push to clean up its environment may have had an unintended consequence: a shortage of heating fuel supply is hitting some regions in the dead of winter, sending prices of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a three-year high...

China on pace for Record Solar-Power Installations

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80 percent.

Why China Wants to Lead on Climate, but Clings to Coal (for Now)

Somini Sengupta
New York Times
Barely a month ago, in a landmark speech to the Communist Party Congress, President Xi Jinping of China promised that his country would take a “driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change.”

China Recovery Pushes Greenhouse Emissions to Global Record

Tobias Buck and Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
Stronger Chinese economic growth will push global greenhouse gas emissions to a record high in 2017 after remaining flat for three years, dashing tentative hopes of a turning point in the world’s efforts to curb climate change.

Chinese Scientists Warn North Korea about Disaster Threat at Nuclear Test Site

Stephen Chen
South China Morning Post
Chinese geologists have warned their North Korean counterparts of a potential catastrophic collapse of a North Korean underground nuclear test site on China’s doorstep.

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 Appetite for Abalone Spurs Organized Crime in South Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Cape Town-based journalist Kimon de Greef joins Eric and Cobus to discuss the lucrative illegal abalone trade between South Africa and China that threatens the survival of this prized shellfish. The abalone trade, according to recent reporting by de...

China’s New Antipollution Push Could Cool Its Growth Engine

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
China’s minister for environmental protection said Monday that even tougher measures will be coming. 

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...

Conversation

10.16.17

What to Watch at China’s Party Congress

Ho-fung Hung, Taisu Zhang & more
The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, a hugely important political meeting usually held once every five years, will begin on October 18 in Beijing. Like many events involving China’s ruling party, the most important decisions and...

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.

Video

10.11.17

The Town at the Heart of China’s Black Market in Ivory

from Environmental Investigation Agency
Last year, in response to mounting criticism for its key role in the steep decline in the world’s elephant population, China announced that it would ban ivory trading and shutter all of the country’s 177 licensed ivory processing companies and...

China Hastens the World toward an Electric-Car Future

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
There is a powerful reason that automakers worldwide are speeding up their efforts to develop electric vehicles — and that reason is China.

While U.S. Moves toward Coal, China Bets Big on Solar

Ben Tracy
CBS News
In southern China, the country flipped the switch on the world's largest floating solar installation - built on top of a lake created by an abandoned coal mine. Projects like these helped China double its solar capacity last year. It is now...

Breakingviews - China's Oil Giants Brace for Electric Car Crash

Katrina Hamlin
Reuters
China’s push into new energy vehicles (NEVs) – including battery-powered and hybrid cars – could curb demand for black gold. Sinopec and PetroChina will be hardest hit. The policy will also add to downward pressure on global crude prices.

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...