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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Moses Lam was an overworked mortgage broker when he started selling bags of air from Canada on eBay as a joke.
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...
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...
New York Times
Officers wearing law enforcement uniforms brandishing clubs, striking women and children cowering at the foot of a wall.
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...
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...
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...
Illnesses among pupils at Changzhou Foreign Languages School, with highly toxic illegal waste dumping blamed.
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...
Chris Buckley and Vanessa Piao
New York Times
The numbers upset people who have become increasingly sensitive about health threats from pollution.
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...
Time-lag and decentralization of government contributed to excessive coal plants.
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...
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...
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...
New York Times
President Xi Jinping announced that China would “enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export.”
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...
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...
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...
Steel mills in Tangshan sent prices rocketing by nearly 20%, ahead of an enforced shutdown later this year.
China's carbon emissions may have peaked in 2014, putting Beijing under pressure to toughen climate pledges perceived as too lax...
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...
from Chinese Doodles
China has overtaken Europe to become the world’s biggest producer of wind power after its domestic sector grew by 60 percent last year.Following a government-backed drive to build new wind farms, China’s installed capacity now totals 145.1 GW,...
Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
“When the buying stops, the killing can too,” reads the popular slogan that WildAid uses in its anti-ivory campaign to raise awareness in China. WildAid, along with most Western environmentalists, contend that curbing demand in China for ivory is...
The shift in how Chinese prefer to get around means salespeople in China have to market bicycles as fashion accessories, rather than as reliable modes of transportation. This is where colorful custom-made fixed gear bicycles come in. Hipsters from...
Documentary filmmaker Sue Williams is finishing up her latest documentary about our beloved electronic gadgets, Death By Design. I was involved in the project and traveled with Williams to south China’s Guangdong province, to the the town of Guiyu,...
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...
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...
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...
I think a big part of the reason why citizens of the world have not rallied to deal with climate change is the lack of a certain deadline that would warrant our immediate response to the grave consequences of our warming planet. There is no...
“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, 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 nearly 1,500 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.
Researchers estimate that between 44 and 57 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) come from the global food system. Agriculture and deforestation caused by agriculture account for 26-33 percent of total emissions, making it a major...
A study by Climate Central, a non-profit news organization focusing on climate science, showed that 12 other nations have more than 10 million people living on land that would be destroyed should the earth’s temperature rise to 4 degrees Celsius.As...
Barbara Demick, Jonathan D. Pollack & more
On Wednesday, North Korea claimed that it had tested a hydrogen bomb, bringing to four the number of nuclear weapons it has set off on its own territory since 2006. The act drew international condemnation, prompting us to ask: What’s different this...
Sharron Lovell & Tom Wang
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 spark was lit for what would...
New York Times
Ma Xingrui expressed remorse during a televised news conference five days after dirt and waste smothered buildings and buried 75 people.
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...
Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
With amazing research now suggesting that Beijing swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their lifetimes,...
Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For the first time in years, there is positive news to report in the fight to save Africa’s elephants from extinction. A new study by Save the Elephants revealed that the price of ivory in China has halved over the past 18 months, indicating that...
International NGOs such as Save the Elephants have shared the great news that the price of ivory has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past year and a half, thanks to successful campaigns by NGOs in educating the public, and also to...
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...
Wall Street Journal
Paris talks gave a whiff of Beijing’s ambitions to lead—but critics fear that could upend status quo.
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...
The ADB said that poor air quality had reached such a serious level that it was "jeopardising health and sustainable growth"...