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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
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...

Green Space

01.14.16

Waking the Green Tiger

This documentary—available in full on ChinaFile throughout January courtesy of filmmaker Gary Marcuse—follows a group of environmental activists trying to prevent the construction of dams on the Nu (Salween) and the Upper Yangtze (Jinsha) rivers in...

Environment

01.11.16

Chinese Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels

from chinadialogue
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...

Conversation

01.06.16

The North Korean Bomb Test—What's Next?

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...

Video

12.30.15

Drinking the Northwest Wind

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...

Chinese Official Vows Punishment Over Shenzhen Landslide

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Ma Xingrui expressed remorse during a televised news conference five days after dirt and waste smothered buildings and buried 75 people.

Conversation

12.23.15

China in 2016

Andrew J. Nathan, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian & more
What should China watchers be watching most closely in China in 2016? What developments would be the most meaningful? What predictions can be made sensibly?

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...

Sinica Podcast

12.17.15

Out of Africa: the Swifts of Beijing

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,...

‘China is Doing More to Protect Elephants than Africa [Is]’

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...

Green Space

12.16.15

Ivory Price Has Halved, But No Celebration Yet

Michael Zhao
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...

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...

Another Kind of Climate Change: China Warms to Superpower Role

ANDREW BROWNE
Wall Street Journal
Paris talks gave a whiff of Beijing’s ambitions to lead—but critics fear that could upend status quo.

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"...

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