Could Beijing be the Healthiest City in China?

Lilly Kuo
Quartz
Beijing, despite its reputation for dangerous levels of air pollution, choking traffic, and food scandals, is the healthiest city in China.

Environment

08.21.14

Who Will Feed China’s Pigs?

from chinadialogue
He's been called China’s richest chicken farmer, but Liu Yonghao has come a long way from his days breeding birds in rural Sichuan province.As the billionaire founder of the New Hope Group, China’s largest producer of animal feed, Liu’s rise...

Can China Save Africa's Elephants?

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Poaching has not only reduced elephant populations, but it has also become unsustainable. The problem, beyond how many elephants are being killed, is the lack of surviving males in their prime years.

Can Enigmatic Chinese Businessman Complete Nicaraguan Canal?

Matt Schiavenza
International Business Times
As Nicaragua granted a 50-year concession to a new development authority that would build a canal through the country, President Daniel Ortega celebrated a moment that would cement “total and complete independence.”

China’s Carbon Plans: Secrecy and Oversupply Darken Outlook

Stian Reklev and Kathy Chen
Reuters
The world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases risks repeating mistakes made in carbon trading in Europe by flooding its pilot markets with free permits...

China Tells Citizens to Walk, Bike, and Snitch in “United Struggle” to Breathe Easier

Lily Kuo
Quartz
The environmental ministry has published a set of guidelines for citizens, which encourage them not only to reduce their personal environmental imprint, but to also turn in polluting and wasteful neighbors. 

Environment

08.13.14

Can a Pollution-Tracking App Kickstart Transparency?

from chinadialogue
It seems counter-intuitive that publicly available data needs grassroots activists to make it accessible. Yet, in a sea of regulations and information, official environmental information can be difficult to parse.The risk of information overload...

Environment

08.07.14

What to Do About China’s Polluted Farmland?

While the extent of China's soil pollution crisis is becoming clearer, the consensus on what to do next is still lacking.The results of the state soil survey earlier this year were damning: 16.1% of sampling points nationwide were in breach of...

Books

08.06.14

China’s Second Continent

Howard W. French
An exciting, hugely revealing account of China’s burgeoning presence in Africa—a developing empire already shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people. A prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, Howard French is uniquely positioned to tell the story of China in Africa. Through meticulous on-the-ground reporting—conducted in Mandarin, French, and Portuguese, among other languages—Howard French crafts a layered investigation of astonishing depth and breadth as he engages not only with policy-shaping moguls and diplomats, but also with the  ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity forged by this seismic geopolitical development. With incisiveness and empathy, French reveals the human face of China’s economic, political, and human presence across the African continent—and in doing so reveals what is at stake for everyone involved.We meet a broad spectrum of China’s dogged emigrant population, from those singlehandedly reshaping African infrastructure, commerce, and even environment (a self-made tycoon who harnessed Zambia’s now-booming copper trade; a timber entrepreneur determined to harvest the entirety of Liberia’s old-growth redwoods), to those just barely scraping by (a sibling pair running small businesses despite total illiteracy; a karaoke bar owner–cum–brothel madam), still convinced that Africa affords them better opportunities than their homeland. And we encounter an equally panoramic array of African responses: a citizens’ backlash in Senegal against a “Trojan horse” Chinese construction project (a tower complex to be built over a beloved soccer field, which locals thought would lead to overbearing Chinese pressure on their economy); a Zambian political candidate who, having protested China’s intrusiveness during the previous election and lost, now turns accommodating; the ascendant middle class of an industrial boomtown; African mine workers bitterly condemning their foreign employers, citing inadequate safety precautions and wages a fraction of their immigrant counterparts’.French’s nuanced portraits reveal the paradigms forming around this new world order, from the all-too-familiar echoes of colonial ambition—exploitation of resources and labor; cut-rate infrastructure projects; dubious treaties—to new frontiers of cultural and economic exchange, where dichotomies of suspicion and trust, assimilation and isolation, idealism and disillusionment are in dynamic flux.Part intrepid travelogue, part cultural census, part industrial and political exposé, French’s keenly observed account ultimately offers a fresh perspective on the most pressing unknowns of modern Sino-African relations: why China is making the incursions it is, just how extensive its cultural and economic inroads are, what Africa’s role in the equation is, and just what the ramifications for both parties—and the watching world—will be in the foreseeable future. —Knopf {chop}

In China, Shark Fin Soup Is So 2010

Mark Magnier
Wall Street Journal
A WildAid study found that sales among shark fin vendors in the southern city of Guangzhou declined 82% in the past two years, while wholesale prices fell 57% and retail prices dropped 47%.

China Will Ban All Coal Use In Beijing By 2020

Business Insider
Beijing’s Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau posted the plan on its website Monday, saying the city would instead prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating.

Strong Quake in China Topples Thousands of Homes, Kills at Least 367

Associated Press
A strong earthquake in southern China's Yunnan province toppled thousands of homes on Sunday, killing at least 367 people and injuring more than 1,881...

Strong Quake in China Topples Thousands of Homes, Kills At Least 367

Associated Press
Los Angeles Times
The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. at a depth of 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was in Longtoushan township, 14 miles southwest of the city of Zhaotong, the Ludian county seat.

China Needs to Import More Food to Ease Water, Energy Shortages

David Stanway
Reuters
China should boost imports of food so it can dedicate more of its scarce water supplies to energy production, especially in arid but coal-rich regions like Xinjiang and Ningxia

Environment

07.23.14

Moving a Mountain, of Trash

from chinadialogue
On July 1, tough new standards for pollution from waste incinerators came into effect. The move is an attempt to end the conflict between communities across China and the nearby rubbish-burning plants they believe threaten their health and house...

China's Support of Latin America 'Doesn't Come for Free'

Víctor M. Mijares
Deutsche Welle
After the BRICS summit and a visit to Brazil, China's President Xi Jinping is embarking on a tour of Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba in a bid to boost ties and gain clout in the region...

Super Typhoon Rammasun Bears Down on Southern China

Euan McKirdy
CNN
Downgraded as it passed over the Philippines, the storm has gained strength again over the South China Sea and is now battering Hainan, with its inner eye wall hugging the island's coast...

Environment

07.17.14

The Legacy of Hunan’s Polluted Soils

from chinadialogue
This is the second of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360 with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. You can also read parts one and three.Cao Fushe spent much of 2013...

Environment

07.17.14

China Faces Long Battle to Clean Polluted Soil

from chinadialogue
This is the third of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360 with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. You can also read parts one and two.Luo Jinzhi is 52 and lives in...

Books

07.15.14

The Forbidden Game

Dan Washburn
In China, just because something is banned, doesn't mean it can't boom. Statistically, zero percent of the Chinese population plays golf, still known as the "rich man’s game" and considered taboo. Yet China is in the midst of a golf boom—hundreds of new courses have opened in the past decade, despite it being illegal for anyone to build them. Award-winning journalist Dan Washburn charts a vivid path through this contradictory country by following the lives of three men intimately involved in China's bizarre golf scene. We meet Zhou, a peasant turned golf pro who discovered the game when he won a job as a security guard at one of the new, exclusive clubs and who sees himself entering the emerging Chinese middle class as a result; Wang, a lychee farmer whose life is turned upside down when a massive, top-secret golf resort moves in next door to his tiny village; and Martin, a Western executive maneuvering through China’s byzantine and highly political business environment, ever watchful for Beijing's "golf police." The Forbidden Game is a rich and arresting portrait of the world’s newest superpower and three different paths to the new Chinese Dream. —Oneworld Publications {chop}

China Requires 30% of State Cars Use Alternative Energy

Alexandra Ho
Bloomberg
China is mandating that electric cars make up at least 30 percent of government vehicle purchases by 2016, the latest measure to fight pollution and cut energy use after exempting the autos from a purchase tax.

PM2.5 Index Reduced in Beijing

Shanghai Daily
Beijing's average PM2.5 index of 91.6 micrograms per cubic meter in first half of 2014 represents an 11.2 percent year-on-year decrease...

Environment

07.10.14

U.S.-China Climate Cooperation More Crucial Than Ever

from chinadialogue
As the governments of the United States and China meet in Beijing this week for the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), one area worth watching closely is clean energy and climate change cooperation. While this topic may...

As China Gets Fatter, World Bank Calls for Health Care Reform

Mark Magnier
Wall Street Journal
As China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and grown increasingly wealthy, its people are suffering from many lifestyle diseases endemic to developed countries.

Coca-Cola Offers Expats China Pollution Hazard Pay

LISA MURRAY AND ANGUS GRIGG
Australian Financial Review
American beverage giant Coca-Cola is offering a hefty “environmental hardship allowance” to its China-based expatriate employees, as foreign companies struggle to attract and retain staff with many people scared off by chronic pollution.

Environment

07.03.14

The Victims of China’s Soil Pollution Crisis

from chinadialogue
This is the first of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. You can also read parts two and three.When Zhang Junwei’s uncle died...

Environment

06.27.14

Germany’s Renewables Paradox a Warning Sign for China

from chinadialogue
From the hay field behind his house, Gunter Jurischka points out the solar panels glittering from the town’s rooftops and the towering wind turbines spinning lazily on the horizon.Thanks to Germany’s now famous Energiewende (or “energy transition”)...

Environment

06.19.14

What China Should Say at the U.N. Climate Change Summit

from chinadialogue
With a little more than 100 days to go, countries are gearing up for Ban Ki-moon’s New York climate summit, the first climate convention of world leaders since Copenhagen and a meeting that aims to catalyze new commitments and mobilize political...

China’s Answer To Its Poverty Of Space: Moving Mountains

Eric Meyer
Forbes
Chongqing, Shiyan, Yichang, Lanzhou and Yan’an. All belong to the “Yellow” China, a parched region tormented by a complicated geography that severely limits almost all human activities, such as farming, communications, construction or industry.

To Bolster Its Claims, China Plants Islands in Disputed Waters

Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
China has been moving sand onto reefs and shoals to add several new islands to the Spratly archipelago, in what foreign officials say is a new effort to expand the Chinese footprint in the South China Sea.

Environment

06.12.14

The Dead Swans of Dongting Lake

from chinadialogue
I’ve lost track of how many nights I spent traveling to Dongting Lake, a large, shallow lake in Hunan province, central China, famed for being the origin of dragon-boat racing.In mid-January 2013 I met the Yueyang River Porpoise Conservation Society...

Conversation

06.11.14

Is a Declining U.S. Good for China?

Zha Daojiong, Gordon G. Chang & more
Zha Daojiong:Talk of a U.S. decline is back in vogue. This time, China features more (if not most) prominently in a natural follow-up question: Which country is going to benefit? My answer: certainly not China.Arguably, the first round of “U.S.-in-...

Sinica Podcast

06.06.14

Rice, Wheat, and Air Filters

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, we're delighted to be joined by Thomas Talhelm, Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of a recent paper proposing a fascinating connection between rice and wheat-growing communities, and...

China Admits to Failures Over Air Quality

Calum MacLeod
USA Today
Only three cities, or 4.1%, of the 74 major Chinese cities subject to air quality standards met the national standard for good air quality in 2013.

Scientists Warn Against China’s Plan to Flatten Over 700 Mountains

Stuart Clark
Guardian
Environmental consequences of removing hills to create more land for cities not considered, academics say in Nature paper.

China Follows USA With Emissions Pledge

Kim Hjelmgaard
USA Today
One day after the United States said it would slash carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30% below 2005 levels, China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, said it would set an absolute cap on its emissions by 2016...

Why Scrapping 6 Million Cars is Not Going to End China’s Pollution Problem

Adam Taylor
Washington Post
While studies have shown some success from these measures, the fact that this bigger ban is being proposed is perhaps a sign it wasn't enough...

Video

05.28.14

Staying Afloat

Lynn Zhang & Shirley Han Ying
In “Staying Afloat: Life on a Disappearing Lake,” Chinese filmmakers Lynn Zhang and Shirley Han Ying train their camera on the people who have been both perpetrators and victims of Lake Baiyangdian’s decline in water supply. They show us not just...

Environment

05.23.14

Killing Pika Won’t Save Tibetan Grasslands

from chinadialogue
A pest extermination campaign is under way on western China’s Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. But experts say there is no scientific basis for the killing of the pika, a small rabbit-like mammal, and warn that the campaign may throw the ecosystem further...

Books

05.22.14

Age of Ambition

Evan Osnos
From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail. —Farrar, Straus, and Giroux {chop}

Environment

05.21.14

Infographic: China’s Pig Footprint

from chinadialogue
Meat invariably means pig in China, with pork accounting for 65% of the meat consumed in the country.And after last year's high-profile takeover of the U.S. pig giant Smithfield by Shuanghui International, since renamed the WH Group, the...

China Inc. Moves Factory Floor to Africa

Peter Wonacott
Wall Street Journal
Faced with rising labor costs at home and negative perceptions about their employment practices in Africa, Chinese companies are setting up new factories on the continent and hiring more Africans.

Caixin Media

05.13.14

China Comes to Grips with Poisons Underfoot

Pollution that is easily perceptible in China's rivers and urban air has gotten a lot of attention in recent years.Now a less obvious environmental concern with equally serious repercussions—soil contamination—is getting the attention it...

Conversation

05.07.14

How is China Doing in Africa?

Tendai Musakwa, Kathleen McLaughlin & more
On his current weeklong tour of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new $12 billion aid package intended to address China’s “growing pains” in Africa. China is by turns lauded for bringing development to the...

Environment

05.07.14

Why China Will Fight for a Global Climate Deal Next Year

from chinadialogue
China is now the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and so the world will pay close attention to its stance at next year’s climate negotiations in Paris, as well as to the kinds of actions it takes to tackle climate change post-2020...

Environment

04.30.14

China’s Environmental Law Good on Paper

from chinadialogue
China’s environmental protection law, which stirred great controversy during its amendment process, has finally been passed. The updated law makes significant progress in the area of public interest litigation and strengthens the legislative tools...

China Gives Teeth, Finally, to Beijing’s New ‘War on Pollution’

Christina Larson
Businessweek
The new environmental protection law—approved April 24 by China’s National People’s Congress—differs significantly from the previous one, especially on enforcement.

Sinica Podcast

04.25.14

Trash Talk with Adam Minter

Jeremy Goldkorn & Adam Minter from Sinica Podcast
Anyone living in China doubtless has a sense of the unholy number of people who seem to be involved in the trash trade here, and who will ferret away everything from your cardboard boxes to plastic bottles faster than you can unpack them or consume...

Environment

04.24.14

Almost One-Fifth of China’s Arable Land is Polluted

from chinadialogue
Almost one-fifth of China’s arable land is polluted to various degrees, according to a national soil quality report on April 17.The report, based on seven-years’ worth of tests on 6.3 million square kilometers (2.4 million square miles) of land,...

Tesla CEO Makes Smooth Drive into China

Doug Young
Forbes
Tesla’s China launch, accompanied by a well-crafted publicity blitz, could help the company sell up to 5,000 cars in the market this year.

Environment

04.16.14

Ten Steps to Cleaner Air in China’s Cities

from chinadialogue
Earlier this year, former San Francisco planning advisor Eugene Leong looked at the legacy of air pollution in San Francisco. Here he draws out ten key policy lessons for China's leadership.Recognize PM2.5 pollution as a complex problem that...

China’s Air Pollution Leading to More Erratic Climate for US, Say Scientists

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
Computer modelling shows intensification of U.S.-bound Pacific storms, driven by fine aerosols from coal power plants and traffic.

Caixin Media

04.15.14

New Sichuan Petchem Plant on Shaky Ground

A controversial petrochemical project in the southwestern province of Sichuan quietly went into operation in March, but questions about the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) facility continue to linger.The project is in Pengzhou, a city of 763,...

Environment

04.10.14

With Dietary Shift, China Facing Health Crisis

from chinadialogue
Tom Levitt: What are the dietary changes going on in China today?Barry Popkin: There are three or four big changes taking place. Firstly, people in China are purchasing more and more of their food from retailers, be they convenience stores, medium-...

Environment

04.03.14

China’s Air Pollution Reporting is Misleading

from chinadialogue
China’s air pollution is being reported in a misleading way, blocking public understanding and enabling official inaction. Outdoor air pollution in China causes an estimated 1.2 million premature deaths and 25 million healthy years of life lost...

China Maoming Environmental Protest Violence Condemned

BBC
Authorities have condemned an environmental protest in southern China that turned violent, calling it "serious criminal behavior.”...

Reports

04.01.14

Distribution of Metals in Soils From Uncultivated Land, Soils From Rice Fields and in Rice Grown in the Area of an Industrial Complex With Metal Smelting and Processing Facilities in Hunan Province, China

Kevin Brigden, Samantha Hetherington, Mengjiao Wang, and David Santillo
Greenpeace
Contamination of soil with a number of toxic metals, including cadmium and lead, is known to be an existing problem for many parts of Hunan province, China. High levels of these metals have also been reported for rice grown in many parts of the...

Environment

03.27.14

Climate Change Darkens Life in China

from chinadialogue
Asia faces a worsening water crisis, according to a leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).Water demand from rising populations and living standards, and poor management—in addition to climate change—will increase...

Environment

03.19.14

Is China Underfunding its ‘War on Pollution’?

from chinadialogue
China’s environmental spending showed a year-on-year drop of almost ten percent in 2013, according to the budget report delivered at China’s annual parliamentary gathering.Despite premier Li Keqiang’s vow to declare “war on pollution”, the 2013...

This Chinese Couple Turned Their Wedding Photos Into Protest Art

Marguerite Ward
PolicyMic
People in China cannot breathe, and they are getting tired of trying to mask it. One newlywed couple, in an act of protest, took their wedding portraits outdoors.