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Environment

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

Elizabeth Shockman
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

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...

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...

China's Smog-Choked Steel City Readies For Six-Month Flower Show Shutdown

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Steel mills in Tangshan sent prices rocketing by nearly 20%, ahead of an enforced shutdown later this year.

China CO2 Emissions May Have Peaked in 2014: Study

David Stanway
Reuters
China's carbon emissions may have peaked in 2014, putting Beijing under pressure to toughen climate pledges perceived as too lax...

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...

Environment

02.22.16

China’s Wind Power Overtakes the E.U.

from chinadialogue
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,...

Why Reducing Ivory Demand in China Will Not Curb Poaching in Africa

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...

Features

02.18.16

The Bamboo Bicycles of Chengdu

Sascha Matuszak
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...

A New Class of Chinese Migrants

Ma Liang
Slate
Pollution is one of the top three reasons cited by wealthy people for leaving the country for good.

Green Space

02.16.16

Gorging on Gadgets

Michael Zhao
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,...

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

01.22.16

Sea Level Rise In Pictures, Cancer Villages Near Beijing

Michael Zhao
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...

Infographics

01.21.16

Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“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.

Environment

01.19.16

Is Industrial Farming a Tech-Fix or Dead End for Tackling Climate Change?

from chinadialogue
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...

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