Chinese Man Sues Local Government Over Smog

Shannon Tiezzi
Diplomat
Li Guixin of Hebei province has become the first person to sue the government over air pollution. 

China Must Reduce ‘Unbearable’ Smog, Government Adviser Says

Bloomberg
China's air pollution has reached intolerable levels and the country should aggressively cut its reliance on coal, according to the government’s climate-change adviser...

Caixin Media

03.04.14

Henan Villagers Seek Justice in Hepatitis C Scandal

Villagers from a county in the central province of Henan say they are still seeking justice almost two years after a doctor admitted reusing syringes and nearly 1,000 people were found to have hepatitis C.The scandal, which has received little...

Environment

02.28.14

Citizen Sues Local Government for Failing to Curb Air Pollution

from chinadialogue
Although residents in Northern China are no strangers to dirty air, a man from the smog-enshrouded Hebei province has decided to take the local environmental authority to court for failing to control air pollution.Li Guixin, a resident in Hebei’s...

Sinica Podcast

02.24.14

The Disabled in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by James Palmer and John Giszczack for a discussion of the disabled in China. Join us as we discuss how the Chinese language defines the concept of disability, what public attitudes are prevalent...

Harvard-Linked Hospital Eyes Expansion With China Billionaire

John Lauerman And Michael McDonald
Bloomberg
Brigham and Women’s Hospital is considering a proposal from real estate billionaire Hui Ka Yan to become the first Harvard-University affiliated hospital to expand to China.

Environment

02.19.14

Water Pollution: More Difficult to Fix Than Dirty Air?

from chinadialogue
Although China’s air pollution keeps making headlines, its water pollution is just as urgent a problem. One-fifth of the country’s rivers are toxic, while two-fifths are classified as seriously polluted. In 2012, more than half of China’s cities had...

Environment

02.12.14

China Unlikely to Reduce Coal Use in the Next Decade

from chinadialogue
Coal will account for no less than sixty percent of China’s total energy use in the next decade, said Zheng Xinye, an energy economist at Renmin University. Currently, coal accounts for seventy percent of China’s total energy consumption. The...

Feasts for the Eyes, and the Palatte, in Xian, China

Perri Klass
New York Times
On the “Muslim Street” in the Chinese city of Xian stands a bronze tableau in honor of street food.

Film Director Zhang Yimou Pays 7.5 Million Yuan Fine Over Children

Agence France-Presse
Zhang admits he has two sons and a daughter with his current wife and a daughter with a previous wife.

Chinese Factories Are Ordered to Release Data on Real-Time Emission Levels

Chrstina Larson
Businessweek
In a sign of progress for the environment and information transparency, China's central government in January ordered 15,000 large and small factories to make real-time data about air and water pollution public...

China Reports 11 New H7N9 Human Cases

Xinhua
Eleven Chinese people were confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 bird flu in four regions, with 8 in critical condition, according to local health authorities.

Books

02.05.14

By All Means Necessary

Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi
In the past thirty years, China has transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them.In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for fuel, ores, water, and land for farming, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political, and military spheres to secure the resources it requires. Chinese traders and investors buy commodities, with consequences for economies, people, and the environment around the world. Meanwhile the Chinese military aspires to secure sea lanes, and Chinese diplomats struggle to protect the country’s interests abroad. And just as surely as China’s pursuit of natural resources is changing the world—restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, transforming resource-rich economies through investment and trade—it is also changing China itself. As Chinese corporations increasingly venture abroad, they must navigate various political regimes, participate in international markets, and adopt foreign standards and practices, which can lead to wide-reaching social and political ramifications at home.Clear, authoritative, and provocative, By All Means Necessary is a sweeping account of where China’s pursuit of raw materials may take the country in the coming years and what the consequences will be—not just for China, but for the whole world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Reports

02.01.14

Food Safety in China: A Mapping of Problems, Governance and Research

Jennifer Holdaway and Lewis Husain
The Social Science Research Council
Food safety has become an issue of great concern in China over the last few years. Media reporting has tended to focus on extreme cases of poisoning from food additives or contamination by heavy metals, but food safety encompasses a wide range of...

Environment

01.31.14

Beijing Passes Law to Curb Air Pollution

from chinadialogue
China’s first legally binding regulations for reducing PM2.5 levels have been approved by Beijing’s municipal congress.Beijing’s annual average PM2.5 level currently stands at 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter, far exceeding the 35-micrograms national...

Environment

01.30.14

This Chinese Filmmaker Can’t Stop Talking Trash

Sun Yunfan
Documentary filmmaker and photographer Wang Jiuliang spent four years, between 2008 and 2011, documenting over 460 hazardous and mostly illegal landfill sites around Beijing.His award-winning film Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011) provoked intense...

Environment

01.29.14

Banned Toxins Found in Kids’ Clothes Made in China

from chinadialogue
Toxic chemicals have been found in children’s clothes sold by Burberry, Adidas, Disney, and nine other brands, according to a report published by the campaign group Greenpeace. These chemicals can be ingested via hand-to-mouth contact, and then...

Li Na Beats Cibulkova to Win Australian Open Title in Her 3rd Appearance in the Final

John Pye
Associated Press
Li Na made beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (3), 6-0 the Australian Open final on January 25 to become the oldest woman to clinch the title in the Open era.

Malaria Eradication—Cure All?

Economist
A novel approach, using drugs from a South China company, instead of insecticides, may make it easier to eliminate malaria. But it is not without controversy.

Environment

01.21.14

Real-time Air Quality Data Due from 179 Chinese Cities

from chinadialogue
More than 170 cities in China have now joined a real-time air quality disclosure scheme, initiated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.Launched in 2012, more than sixty cities had started publishing data from their monitoring stations by the...

Left-Behind Children of China’s Migrant Workers Bear Grown-Up Burdens

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
About 61 Million Chinese Kids Haven’t Seen One or Both Parents for at Least Three Months

Beijing Air Pollution At Dangerously High Levels

Associated Press
The PM2.5 density was calculated at 26 times higher than what is considered safe by the WHO. 

China Cloning on an 'Industrial Scale'

David Shukman
BBC
A converted shoe factory in Shenzhen becomes the world's largest cloning centre through "handmade cloning."...

As Cannabis is Widely Legalized, China Cashes in on an Unprecedented Boom

Ian Johnston
Independent
Almost 5,000 years ago, Chinese physicians recommended a tea made from cannabis leaves to treat a wide variety of conditions including gout and malaria.

China Fines ‘House of Flying Daggers’ Director for Breaching One-child Policy

Tania Branigan
Guardian
Film-maker Zhang Yimou, who has three children with wife Chen Ting, has to pay £750,000 for breaking law.

Environment

01.08.14

The Drying Up of China’s Largest Freshwater Lake

from chinadialogue
When Jiang Minsheng moored his fishing boat on the eastern shore of Jiangxi’s Poyang Lake in November last year, he didn’t expect to it to be marooned. The fisherman’s village is on an island in the middle of the freshwater lake, once China’s...

Police Seize 3 Tons Meth in South China Village

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
Call it “Breaking Bad: China Edition.” More than 3,000 police officers equipped with helicopters and motorboats and accompanied by dogs descended on a southern Chinese village notorious for making crystal meth, seizing 3 tons of the drug and 23 tons...

Wal-Mart Recalls Fake Donkey-Meat Snacks in China

Don Lee
Los Angeles Times
Some months ago, rat meat was passed off as strips of lamb in China. Now it's fox sold as donkey-meat snacks. And in the middle of the latest Chinese food scare: Wal-Mart. ...

China Formally Passes Law Easing One-Child Policy

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
China's legislature on Saturday formally eased two restrictive social policies of its authoritarian system, allowing some couples to have a second child and ending a form of extralegal detention. The standing committee of the National People...

Other

12.26.13

2013 Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the stories ChinaFile published in 2013. We hope you’ll find something that interests you to read—or watch—over the holidays.It’s hard to remember a recent year that didn...

New Bird Flu Strain Linked to Death of Chinese Woman

Guardian
Chinese authorities have said a 73-year-old woman has died after being infected with a bird flu strain not previously found in people, a development that the World Health Organisation called “worrisome.”

Caixin Media

12.17.13

Are Changes to China’s Family-Planning Rules Too Little, Too Late?

Among the sixty areas covered in the Communist Party’s “decision” document released after the third plenum of the Eighteenth Central Committee, the most popular among ordinary people is a revision to the family planning policy to allow some couples...

The End of China’s One-Child Policy? An Interview with Mei Fong

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Dissent
What exactly did the recent Third Plenum reveal about China’s strategy for dealing with the “One-Child Policy?” Questions for Mei Fong, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter working on a book about the policy.

Caixin Media

12.09.13

Traditional Chinese Medicine Struggling to Find Cure for Regulatory Woes in the U.S.

In November, the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Fuzheng Huayu Tablets passed the second phase of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) clinical testing.Before this, only one TCM drug had cleared the second of the three phases needed for...

The AIDS Granny in Exile

Kathleen MacLaughlin
Buzzfeed
In her one-bedroom apartment, Dr. Gao Yaojie — known to many as “the AIDS Granny” — moves with great difficulty through her tidy clutter and stacks of belongings. In the small kitchen, she stirs a pot of rice and bean porridge, one of the few things...

Books

12.03.13

Junkyard Planet

Adam Minter
When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter—veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner—travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money—and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren’t pretty. With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America’s recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don’t. Junkyard Planet reveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.—Bloomsbury Press{chop}

Caixin Media

12.02.13

How an Expectant Mother Died in Qingdao

One of the fifty-five people to die in an explosion on November 22 at a pipeline owned by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) in the eastern city of Qingdao was a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman named Chen Na.Her husband, who...

Conversation

11.19.13

What Will the Beginning of the End of the One-Child Policy Bring?

Leta Hong Fincher, Vincent Ni & more
Leta Hong Fincher:The Communist Party’s announcement that it will loosen the one-child policy is, of course, welcome news. Married couples will be allowed to have two children if only one of the spouses is an only child, meaning that millions more...

China to Move Slowly on One-Child Law Reform

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
China's family-planning agency is projecting a slow rollout for an easing of its one-child policy, underscoring reluctance by the government in moving too quickly to let some couples have two children and a law in place for decades...

China to Ease Longtime Policy of 1-Child Limit

Christopher Buckley
New York Times
The Chinese government will ease its one-child family restrictions and abolish “re-education through labor” camps, significantly curtailing two policies that for decades have defined the state’s power to control citizens’ lives.

If You Think China’s Air Is Bad...

Damien Ma and William Adams
New York Times
China’s more than 4,700 underground water-quality testing stations show that nearly three-fifths of all water supplies are “relatively bad” or worse. Roughly half of rural residents lack access to drinking water that meets international standards...

Books

10.28.13

In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}

Excerpts

10.28.13

Stark Choices for China’s Leaders

Damien Ma & William Adams
One Beijing morning in early November 2012, seven men in dark suits strode onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People. China’s newly elected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping stood at the center of the ensemble, flanked on each...

Caixin Media

10.15.13

Sip of Death Plagues River Villages

Cancer is claiming fewer lives these days, and Dr. Wang Shiren says he’s been caring for a steadily declining number of patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders.Yet a decades-long health calamity continues to grip Huangmengying, a Henan...

Xi Jinping Gets Mocked Going After New Zealand on Food Safety

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
While China’s new leader has won praise at home for his aggressiveness in pushing China’s interests abroad, this is one situation in which his boldness was bound to backfire. As bad as the Fonterra scandal appeared, China’s own dairy companies have...

Bringing Home the Bacon: Chinese Savor Smithfield Deal

Calum MacLeod
USA Today
China's swallowing up of Smithfield, a well-known U.S. povider of processed meats, illustrates two things about the country: its swelling economic power and growing hunger for meat-based diets. And the deal may foretell of many...

Infographics

10.01.13

Markups, Kickbacks, and Sellouts: What’s Wrong with China’s Medical System

from Sohu
As the United States haltingly moves to implement the Affordable Care Act, China claims it has already achieved universal rural health care, with more than 800 million rural residents enrolled in a medical plan. Yet according to recent reports the...

China to Crack Down on Family Planning Fines After Abuses Found

Reuters
The National Audit Office’s investigation of 45 counties in nine provinces and municipalities from 2009-12 found 1.6 billion yuan ($260 million) in fines had been given out in contravention of the rules, Chinese newspapers said...

China’s State TV Says Danone Bribed Hospitals to Push Baby Milk

Reuters
China Central Television cited an unidentified former Dumex sales manager as saying the company had paid medical staff at a city hospital in Tianjin to promote its products, allegations that the French food group said it would...

Half of China’s Antibiotics Now Go to Livestock

Tom Philpott
Mother Jones
To make animals grow quickly under cramped, feces-ridden conditions, animals in China’s factory farms get fed small, doses of antibiotics—creating ideal breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens that threaten people. 

Workers’ Rights ‘Flouted’ at Apple iPhone Factory in China

Juliette Garside and Charles Arthur
Guardian
Staff are allegedly working without adequate protective equipment, at risk from chemicals, noise and lasers, for an average of 69 hours a week. Apple has a self-imposed limit of 60 working hours a week. 

Media

09.11.13

Amid Scandals, Can China’s New Organ Transplant System Work?

The now oft-derided Chinese Red Cross once again found itself in hot water in July, when it was reported that some branches have asked organ transplant hospitals to pay 100,000 RMB ($16,300) for each successful organ donation organized by them. In...

Viewpoint

09.11.13

Beijing’s Air in 2013 or Ground Zero’s After 9/11: Which Was Worse?

Emily Brill
When I moved to Beijing from New York in February to study Chinese, a question began to haunt me: Could Beijing’s air in 2013 be more dangerous than the toxic brew produced by the 9/11 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center, which hung over...

Don’t Trust a Chicken Nugget That’s Visited China

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
China’s poultry processors have no intention of meeting U.S. food-safety standards. That may explain why the U.S. Department of Agriculture waited until just before the long weekend to announce that it had ended a ban on...

90% of China’s New H.I.V. Infections Through Sex

Xinhua
With an estimated 48,000 to 50,000 new H.I.V./A.I.D.S. infections every year, Wu said the government aims to reduce new infections by 25 percent and H.I.V./A.I.D.S. mortality by 30 percent by the end of 2015. 

Teach About Sex? Attitudes Start to Shift Slowly in China

Anna Richardson
Christian Science Monitor
 Professor of sociology Li Yinhe never thought she would see the day she’d be allowed to host a safe-sex education exhibition at a public institution in conservative China. That it was permitted at all...

China to Phase Out Use of Prisoners’ Organs for Transplants

Li Hui and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China will phase out its decades-long practice of using the organs of executed prisoners for transplants from November as it pushes to mandate the use of organs from ethical sources.

The Abuse of China’s 'left-behind' Children

Yuwen Wu
BBC
A series of disturbing revelations in China’s state media about the sexual abuse of school children has exposed the dark side of life in rural areas where parents leave their homes to earn money as migrant workers.

Caixin Media

08.12.13

China’s Urban Sludge Dilemma: Sinking in Stink

Promptly at noon on March 17, a heavy truck hauling a dark substance and on a dark mission pulled out of the Gaobeidian Wastewater Treatment Plant in eastern Beijing.A wastewater treatment engineer helped a Caixin reporter identify the unusual load...

Pollution Economics

Dirk Forrister and Paul Bledsoe
New York Times
With more than a million people dying prematurely each year from breathing its dirty air, the Communist country is experimenting with a capitalist approach: create incentives so that the market will force reductions in emissions.