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...

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...

China’s Coal Dependency Threatens Efforts to Curb Warming

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
China's coal consumption contributes one-fifth of the world’s total emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, which, if it continues, will make it change “almost impossible." ...

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.

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...

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...

Beijing Buys a Waste Management Company to Solve Its Pollution Problems—But It Won’t Work

Adam Pasick
Quartz
Beijing’s municipal government controls its own infrastructure company, the Beijing Capital Group, which means it can spend $798 million to buy New Zealand’s biggest waste management company.

Environment

03.05.14

Should China Follow in America’s Factory Farming Footsteps?

from chinadialogue
The scale of growth in China’s meat production over the past three decades is staggering. Today, one-third of the world’s meat is produced in the country and half of all pigs live there. While per capita consumption may still be below the U.S. and...

Conversation

02.27.14

How Responsible Are Americans for China’s Pollution Problem?

David Vance Wagner, Alex Wang & more
David Vance Wagner: China’s latest “airpocalypse” has again sent air pollution in Beijing soaring to hazardous levels for days straight. Though the Chinese government has made admirable progress recently at confronting the long-term air pollution...

Environment

02.20.14

Pollution Tax Suggested for Wealthy Chinese Fleeing for Greener Pastures

from chinadialogue
Environmental problems have become an important factor causing the rich to leave China—but one academic has now suggested that they should first pay an environmental levy. Chen Guoen, a professor at Wuhan University, said that some Western...

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...

U.S. Targets Buyers of China-Bound Luxury Cars

Matthew Goldstein
Deal Book
A Florida businessman buys new cars that typically retail for $55,000 to $75,000 in the United States and resells them in China for as much as three times those prices.

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...

In China’s War On Bad Air, Government Decision to Release Data Gives Hope

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China’s Communist state is hardly known for its transparency. So when environmental groups appealed for official air pollution data, they were not expecting much.

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...

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...

Environment

01.03.14

Predictions for China’s Environment in 2014

from chinadialogue
From dead pigs in the Shanghai river to toxic smog in major cities, 2013 was a year of dramatic environmental stories in China. We asked some of our contributors for their predictions on how these and other stories are likely to develop in the...

Environment

12.18.13

Fines Won’t Solve China’s Smog Problem

from chinadialogue
Eight municipal governments in northeast Liaoning province have together received 54.2 million yuan (U.S.$8.9 million) in fines for failing to reach air quality standards—the first time a provincial government has imposed financial penalties on...

Environment

12.12.13

China’s Coal Industry at a Crossroads

from chinadialogue
Times are getting rough for Wang Guangchun, a ten-year veteran sales manager of a state-owned coal company.“During the golden era of the past, clients came to find me,” Wang said. “Starting last year, we had to go looking for them.”Wang is employed...

Sinica Podcast

12.03.13

One Journalist’s Journey through China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Kaiser and Jeremy are pleased to be joined by Isabel Hilton, a longstanding British journalist whose youthful interest in China got her blacklisted by the British security services and the British Broadcasting Corporation and redirected...

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...

Environment

11.12.13

China’s Urban Dilemma

Isabel Hilton from chinadialogue
After nearly three decades of rapid urbanization, China’s official and unofficial city dwellers outnumber its farmers. More than 400 million people have already moved into cities in the past thirty years, and in 2011 China crossed the threshold of a...

N.A.S.A. Satellite Images Reveal the Terrifying Extent of China’s Air Pollution

Ellie Zolfagharifard
Daily Mail
Satellite images provided by N.A.S.A.’s Suomi satellite give a new, even more horrifying face to the awful air pollution that is plaguing China. 

Suck It and See

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/...
Guardian
There are many theories on how China could best tackle its air pollution problem: it could shutter its factories, upgrade its emissions standards or, according to one Dutch artist, it could simply suck up the haze...

Conversation

10.22.13

Why’s China’s Smog Crisis Still Burning So Hot?

Alex Wang, Isabel Hilton & more
Alex Wang:On Sunday, the start of the winter heating season in northern China brought the “airpocalypse” back with a vengeance.Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province and home to 11 million people, registered fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution...

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...

Beijing Toughens Pollution Rules to Clean Up Air

Xinhua
In a five-year clean air action plan (2013-2017), the Beijing municipal government said 1,200 polluting companies will be ordered to upgrade or close parts or all of their facilities in the coming years to 2016. 

Environment

08.29.13

Beijing Water Shortage Worse Than the Middle East

from chinadialogue
Beijing’s annual water consumption has reached 3.6 billion cubic meters, according to statistics released by the Beijing Water Authority, far more than the 2.1 billion cubic meters locally available.The per capita annual water availability is now...

Why China’s Farms Are Failing

Tom Philpott
Atlantic
In the process of emerging as the globe’s manufacturing center, China has severely damaged its land and water resources, compromising its ability to increase food production for a wealthier population that’s demanding ever-more meat. 

China: Foreign Tourism Falls, and Smog May Be One Reason

Associated Press
Smog was among factors cited in new report showing China, one of the world’s most popular destinations for international travelers, has experienced a significant decline in the number of tourists this year.

Conversation

08.15.13

What Should China Do to Reverse its Tourism Deficit?

Leah Thompson, Damien Ma & more
Recent news stories and industry studies show that fewer international visitors are choosing China as their destination. January-June arrivals in Beijing are down 15% from the same period in 2012 and more Chinese than ever before are spending their...

Viewpoint

08.09.13

Five Years On

Jonathan Landreth
On August 8, 2008, I was in Beijing reporting on the media aspects of China’s first Olympic Games, and I am still amazed that the four-hour opening ceremony, as designed by film director Zhang Yimou, was seen by sixty-nine percent of China’s...

Environment

07.25.13

Comment: Polluters Shouldn’t Be the Judge of Other Polluters

from chinadialogue
If the law sets a criminal to catch other criminals what do you think those criminals will think? My colleagues have discovered that new legislation threatens to do just that.A new draft revision of the Environmental Protection Law is now online for...

Chinese Coal Company Releasing Toxic Wastewater, Greenpeace Says

Reuters
The report, the first by Greenpeace to single out and publicly challenge one of China’s powerful state-owned companies, comes as the country’s new leadership steps up its focus on pollution amid growing protests over environmental...

After Protest, China Cancels Plans for Uranium Plant

Gerry Mullany
New York Times
The protest in Jiangmen was the latest display of growing public disquiet about environmental hazards, which could frustrate China’s ambitious plans for nuclear power and technology. 

China’s Reliance on Coal Reduces Life Expectancy by 5.5 Years

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
The study concluded that long-term exposure to air containing 100 micrograms of total suspended particles (T.S.P.) per cubic meter “is associated with a reduction in life expectancy at birth of about 3.0 years.” 

China Mine Runoff Pollutes Water for 30,000, China Daily Says

Bloomberg
Officials in southern China shut 112 illegal mines after polluted runoff entered the local water supply, killing fish and making the water unusable for about 30,000 people, China Daily newspaper said.

Environment

07.03.13

Understanding China’s Domestic Agenda Can End U.N. Climate Gridlock

from chinadialogue
Li Shuo of Greenpeace China has recently argued on chinadialogue that U.N. climate talks can drive more ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in China, the world’s largest emitter. This optimism goes against much of the conventional wisdom...

Environment

05.30.13

China’s “NIMBY” Protests: Sign of Unequal Society

from chinadialogue
NIMBY—or “not in my backyard”—protests happen when residents attempt to protect their neighborhoods from the negative impacts of public or industrial facilities. Since the 2007 “walking protests” against a PX chemical factory in Xiamen, we have seen...

A Long Ride Toward a New China (Video)

Stephen Maing
New York Times
Every summer, the 59-year-old Chinese blogger Zhang Shihe rides his bicycle thousands of miles to the plateaus, deserts and hinterlands of North Central China. In this Op-Doc video, we meet Mr. Zhang, known to his many followers online as “...

The Pollution Crisis and Environmental Activism in China: A Q&A with Ralph Litzinger

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Dissent
The last year has seen a dramatic uptick in press coverage of Chinese environmental issues. There have also been a number of books published on the subject, with more due out soon. So this seemed a good moment to get in touch with my friend&nbsp...

Chinese Protesters Oppose Petrochemical Plant in Kunming

Rob Schmitz
Marketplace
Today, hundreds of protesters shut down traffic in the Chinese city of Kunming to dramatize their opposition to a proposed petrochemical plant. It's the latest in a series of 'not in my backyard' or NIMBY protests in...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano & more
The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.But 7 years later as we prepared to return to the US,...

Books

05.02.13

China and the Environment

Sam Geall
Sixteen of the world’s twenty most polluted cities are in China. A serious water pollution incident occurs once every two-to-three days. China’s breakneck growth causes great concern about its global environmental impacts, as others look to China as a source for possible future solutions to climate change. But how are Chinese people really coming to grips with environmental problems? This book provides access to otherwise unknown stories of environmental activism and forms the first real-life account of China and its environmental tensions. China and the Environment provides a unique report on the experiences of participatory politics that have emerged in response to environmental problems, rather than focusing only on macro-level ecological issues and their elite responses. Featuring previously untranslated short interviews, extracts from reports and other translated primary documents, the authors argue that going green in China isn’t just about carbon targets and energy policy; China’s grassroots green defenders are helping to change the country for the better. —Zed Books

Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have enough cash, you can buy guns...

China’s Urban Refugees: Leaving Pollution, City Life Behind

Rob Schmitz
Marketplace
Many educated Chinese urbanites have left the city and their jobs for a slower and cleaner life in the mountains of Western China. 

Environment

03.22.13

Public Fury After Chinese Environment Minister Keeps Job

from chinadialogue
In his eight years as China’s environmental protection minister, Zhou Shengxian has failed to keep almost a single promise. I say “almost”: he has kept his word at least when it comes to his own career—as promised, he has not quit.When the new...

Environment

03.13.13

Chinese Fracking Plans Prompt “Water-Grabbing” Fears

from chinadialogue
China has become one of Asia’s leaders in expanding unconventional shale-gas extraction in the name of energy self-sufficiency and national autonomy. Experiences of “fracking” worldwide, however, suggest the costs to China of joining this revolution...

Choking To Death: Health Consequences Of Air Pollution in China

Yanzhong Huang
Council on Foreign Relations
 The number of lung cancer-caused mortality in China has increased by 465 percent in the past three decades, due to severe air pollution. 

Could Electric Cars Reduce China’s Smog?

John Sudworth
BBC
Looking at BYD Auto Company, China's central planners, and Warren Buffet's investment in the future of electric cars in China...

Photos of Trash Heaps Resemble Chinese Landscape Paintings

Michael Zhang
PetaPixel
Yao Lu’s deceiving photos are a commentary on the state of China, its modernization, and its rampant pollution. 

Caixin Media

03.02.13

Poison Eaters of Gansu Province

Barely any rainfall on a bone-dry landscape has always made crop farming in the province of Gansu a rough gamble between the sky and local irrigation policies. But now, farmers reap only sorrow from fields that experts say are severely contaminated...

Conversation

02.27.13

How Long Can China Keep Pollution Data a State Secret?

Elizabeth Economy, Orville Schell & more
Elizabeth Economy:The environment is center stage once again in China. A Chinese lawyer has requested the findings of a national survey on soil pollution from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and been denied on the grounds that the...

Media

02.22.13

China’s State-Run Media Shares Powerful Map of “Cancer Villages” Creeping Inland

It appears that Chinese environmental activism is going further mainstream. The Sina micro-blogging account of Global Times, a well-known Communist Party mouthpiece, has just shared news about the horrific proliferation of “cancer villages” in China...

Environment

02.20.13

Air Quality in China: A Snapshot

Nearly five weeks ago, Beijing experienced its worst day of air quality on record: Levels of PM2.5—small particulates that can cause lung, cardiovascular, and respiratory disease—soared to more than thirty times the level considered safe by the...