In China, a Push for Cleaner Air

Bill Bishop
Deal Book
China’s State Council announced an ambitious package on Friday of 10 measures to combat air pollution. Air pollution is a major problem in China and steps to alleviate the problem are vital to the government’s stated goals of...

Environment

06.06.13

Wuxi-Düsseldorf and the Challenge of Green City Partnerships

from chinadialogue
At first glance, it isn’t an obvious pairing. Düsseldorf is the fashion and advertising capital of Germany. Wuxi is a fast-growing industrial city on China’s east coast, with probably more coal plants than catwalks. But a German environmental think-...

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...

Is the U.S. About to Become One Big Factory Farm For China?

Tom Philpott
Mother Jones
If Shuanghui International’s purchase of Smithfield is to grease the wheels of trade carrying U.S. hogs to China and its enormous domestic pork market, then we’re looking at the further expansion of factory-scale swine farming here in the U.S.&...

Tamping Down Expectations on China’s Growth

Bill Bishop
Deal Book
Mr. Xi also said “China will not sacrifice the environment for temporary economic growth” and that officials will be held responsible for pollution “for life.”  

Books

05.28.13

Stumbling Giant

Timothy Beardson
While dozens of recent books and articles have predicted the near-certainty of China’s rise to global supremacy, this book boldly counters such widely-held assumptions. Timothy Beardson brings to light the daunting array of challenges that today confront China, as well as the inadequacy of the policy responses. Threats to China come on many fronts, Beardson shows, and by their number and sheer weight these problems will thwart any ambition to become the world’s “Number One Power.”Drawing on extensive research and experience living and working in Asia over the last 35 years, the author spells out China’s situation: an inexorable demographic future of a shrinking labor force, relentless aging, extreme gender disparity, and even a falling population. Also, the nation faces social instability, a devastated environment, a predominantly low-tech economy with inadequate innovation, the absence of an effective welfare safety net, an ossified governance structure, and radical Islam lurking at the borders. Beardson’s nuanced, first-hand look at China acknowledges its historic achievements while tempering predictions of its imminent hegemony with a no-nonsense dose of reality. —Yale University Press

Environment

05.28.13

How China Can Kick-start Carbon Capture and Storage

from chinadialogue
China’s estimated total carbon dioxide emissions reached 25 percent of global emissions in 2011 and they continue to grow rapidly—so rapidly, in fact, that the increase in China’s emissions over an eight-month period is...

Environment

05.23.13

Food Safety Scandals Bring Reality-Check to “Chinese Dream”

from chinadialogue
In the wake of China’s recent food scandal, Chinese premier Li Keqiang has vowed to enforce the toughest food safety regulations.“We need to crack down on practices that violate laws and regulations with a heavy fist, and make the lawbreakers pay an...

China Tries to Improve Image in a Changing Myanmar

Jane Perlez and Bree Feng
New York Times
With its petrol projects challenged more than ever by activists energized by Myanmar’s democratic opening, China has been trying to repair its tarnished reputation among residents here, and in the country at large. 

What Is China’s Arctic Game Plan?

Gwynn Guilford
Atlantic
China’s ambitions for the Arctic go beyond resource mining; issues like delineating territory and establishing fishing rights in large part falls to the Arctic Council as ice metls and the ocean’s size increases. China wants a hand in these...

Kunming Pollution Protest Is Tip Of Rising Chinese Environmental Activism

Jennifer Duggan
Guardian
The frequency of protests is rising as China’s increasingly affluent and middle-class society becomes more aware of environmental issues. This protest in Kunming is the second large protest in a week over environmental concerns. 

China Granted Access to Arctic Club as Resource Race Heats Up

Nicole Gaouette and Niklas Magnusson
Bloomberg
China has identified the Arctic as a strategically and geopolitically valuable region and having a seat at the table, albeit only as a permanent observer, has long been an essential part of the country’s regional strategy. 

Environment

05.20.13

Water-Trading Could Exacerbate Water Shortages in China

from chinadialogue
Large-scale engineering projects and rigorous state control are hallmarks of the Chinese developmental model, and both have been apparent in the country’s approach to water management.A US$62 billion project to divert water from the south to the...

China Doesn’t Want Your Trash Anymore

Gwynn Guilford
Quartz
The Chinese government just began forbidding the import of certain types of solid waste and other illegal waste mixed in with the good stuff.  China is the primary source of demand of the U.S.’s to-be-recycled plastics...

Environment

05.17.13

China Tops Table for Disaster-Induced Displacement of People

from chinadialogue
More than a third of all people forced from their homes by disasters such as floods, storms, and earthquakes in the past five years were in China, says a new report from the leading international body on displacement.Around 49.8 million Chinese...

China Not Embracing Electric Cars

Nathan Bomey
Detroit Free Press
China faces the same obstacles as the U.S. in the push for electric vehicles: They’re still expensive, many consumers don’t understand them and many drivers don’t have anywhere to charge the batteries.   

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 “...

What is China’s Arctic Game Plan?

Gwynn Guilford
Quartz
Fishing is a big business for China, so much so that it's raiding the territorial waters of other countries. Arctic nations are currently mulling an accord to prevent fishing in the open water above the Bering Strait until scientists...

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

05.16.13

China: What’s Going Right?

Michael Zhao, James Fallows & more
Michael Zhao:On a recent trip to China, meeting mostly with former colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, I got a dose of optimism and hope for one aspect of the motherland. In terms of science, or laying down a solid foundation for better...

Environment

05.16.13

Singapore’s Growth Story Holds Lessons for Water-Scarce China

from chinadialogue
When the tiny city-state of Singapore gained independence in 1965, its social, economic, political, and environmental constraints appeared so formidable that many of those looking in from outside predicted a future of dismal dimensions.Forty years...

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,...

China Is Plundering The World’s Seas

Gwynn Guilford
Quartz
China’s unabated market for pricey fish parts like shark fin and endangered fish bladders is not only hurting the ecosystem, but will also have a negative impact on the world economy.

28,000 Rivers Disappeared In China

Angel Hsu and William Miao
Atlantic
Official explanations from the Chinese government have attributed the significant reduction to statistical discrepancies, water and soil loss, and climate change, but Netizens aren’t satisfied with these answers.

Environment

05.03.13

Time to End Secrecy Over Chinese Overseas Fishing

from chinadialogue
It is well-known that overseas fishing fleets are more cavalier in terms of respect for laws and regulations than their domestic counterparts. There are innumerable examples from all over the world of fishing with gears that are not part of...

Is China Ready For The Next Quake

Wang Jiaquan
Xinhua
With the government’s relief efforts already shifting toward reconstruction, the safety of housing structures must be prioritized, with special attention being given to close supervision over project design and construction quality. 

Airbus Reaches Deal To Sell Jets To China

David Pearson
Wall Street Journal
Airbus said it clinched an order from China for 60 Airbus jets, including 18 planes that had fallen hostage to China’s order freeze in retaliation to the E.U.’s 2012 decision to include the airline sector in a carbon-dioxide-emissions trading scheme...

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

Agricultural Merger Shows China Is Worried About Feeding Itself

Jake Maxwell Watts
Quartz
China conditionally approved the $5.6 billion purchase of US grain supplier Gavilon by the Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp. Without imports, China would need to devote about a quarter of its total arable land to soybeans in...

Media

05.01.13

The Long Battle Over “White Pollution”

In the past weeks, Chinese citizens have learned that the styrofoam boxes from which they eat their lunches will soon be legal. On February 16, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s highest economic policy-making body,...

Environment

04.30.13

Why Has Water-Rich Yunnan Become A Drought Hotspot?

from chinadialogue
Yunnan’s drought continues. During China’s annual parliamentary session in March, the deputy party secretary of the southwest Chinese province, Qiu He, blamed spring floodwaters that flow through Yunnan and on into other countries for the water...

Beijing Air Laden With Arsenic, Other Heavy Metals

Yan Shuang
Global Times
Such heavy metals can damage the nervous system and cause cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a report by a joint team of Greenpeace members and scholars from Peking University that tested the capital’s air over a 15-day period. 

Pollution Is Radically Changing Childhood In China’s Cities

Edward Wong
New York Times
Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems. 

Environment

04.28.13

Poor Rural Residents in China Seen as Easy Target for Environmental Lawsuits

from chinadialogue
China today boasts a collection of ninety-five environmental courts, all of which were set up over the past six years. It is a trend that promises to re-shape Chinese environmental law.But simply trumpeting this initiative is no guarantee the...

Earthquake Response And Political Tensions Return To The Spotlight

Bill Bishop
Deal Book
Though better than the response to the 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan, survivors face a third night with no shelter and little food or water. The economic impact from the earthquake should be limited, though,&...

In Earthquake Aftermath, China Turns To The Web

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
No matter what the Chinese may think of the disaster-relief efforts of the new leadership, its online contingent seems relieved to find both solace and resources in their new frontier: “I remember in 2008 when there wasn’t Weibo yet. Now...

Frustration Rises From Rubble Of China’s Deadly Quake

Michael Martina
Reuters
While many have praised the government for its swift response, growing anger among some underscores the government’s challenge, magnified by the fact that Sichuan bore the brunt of a 7.9 earthquake in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people. 

Mother Loses Son, Then Daughter In Both Sichuan Earthquakes

Chris Luo
South China Morning Post
Life has not been fair for 50-year-old Lu Jingkang, who lost her teenage daughter in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Yaan on April 20, 2013. Barely five years earlier, she lost her son in the other catastrophic Sichuan earthquake, in...

China Surpasses U.S. In Clean-Energy Investment

Keith Johnson
Wall Street Journal
Globally, clean-energy investment fell last year 11% to $269 billion. But China bucked the trend, attracting of $65.1 billion in clean-energy investment in 2012, a 20% uptick over 2011 and nearly one-third of the total investment in G-20 countries...

As Cancer Rates Rise In China, Trust Remains Low

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
At the top of the list of reasons China may be facing a cancer crisis is the crucial issue of mistrust between patient and doctor. The lack of trust, reflected in regular accounts in the Chinese news media, is rooted in a perception that...

Environment

04.22.13

Why It’s Time to End China-Bashing on the Environment

from chinadialogue
The major impact that international summits and treaties have had on China’s environmental governance is often overlooked. Environmental protection first emerged as an issue in China in 1972, after the country dispatched a delegation to the U.N...

Media

04.22.13

Social Media’s Role in Ya’an Earthquake Aftermath is Revealing

China’s social media was in mourning yesterday as users turned their profile photos to grey in remembrance of the victims of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Ya’an region in Sichuan province on Saturday. As of April 22, the death toll has risen to...

Why Leave Job In Beijing? To Breathe

Laurie Burkitt and Brian Spegele
Wall Street Journal
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China says air pollution is a key challenge facing companies here, and is an underlying reason why many expatriate workers choose to leave. 

Environment

04.16.13

Morococha: The Peruvian Town the Chinese Relocated

from chinadialogue
The headlines have been stark: a Chinese mining company moves an entire Peruvian town of 5,000 people five miles down the road to make way for its new mine.It sounds like another story about an extractive corporation riding roughshod over local...

Environment

04.10.13

Writing Yunnan a Rubber Check

Chris Horton
Our van stopped at a scenic vista on the contour road where verdant mountains undulated southward toward China’s border with Laos. Stepping out to take some photos, I was overcome by an acrid, unpleasant odor. I asked my local travel partner, Xiao...

China’s Massive Water Problem

Scott Moore
New York Times
This Spring 2013 China is expected to finish the first phase of its gigantic South-North Water Transfer Project, though the project highlights the limits of engineering solutions to problems of basic environmental scarcity.&...

Conversation

04.03.13

Bird Flu Fears: Should We Trust Beijing This Time?

David Wertime, Yanzhong Huang & more
David Wertime:A new strain of avian flu called H7N9 has infected at least seven humans and killed three in provinces near the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, with the first death occurring on March 4. Meanwhile, in the last month, about 16,000 pigs...

As Pollution Worsens In China, Solutions Succumb To Infighting

Edward Wong
New York Times
As some officials push for tighter restrictions on pollutants, SOEs have been putting profits ahead of health in working to outflank new rules, according to government data and interviews with people involved in policy negotiations. 

Conversation

03.26.13

Can China Transform Africa?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the “China shops”—small stores selling cheap clothing, bags, and kitchenware—that have become...

Environment

03.25.13

Chinese Nuclear Disaster “Highly Probable” by 2030

from chinadialogue
Some members of the nuclear power industry rely too much on theoretical calculations, when only experience can provide real accuracy.The lifetime of nuclear reactors is calculated in “reactor-years.” One reactor-year means one reactor operating for...

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...

Carbon Copy: Why China’s Air-Pollution Problem Isn’t Unique

Aaron Reuben
Atlantic
“...in relation to the population density we see in China,” biologist Ramon Guardans says, “the U.S. and Europe did a much dirtier job industrializing.” 

Books

03.20.13

Green Innovation in China

Joanna I. Lewis
As the greatest coal-producing and consuming nation in the world, China would seem an unlikely haven for wind power. Yet the country now boasts a world-class industry that promises to make low-carbon technology more affordable and available to all. Conducting an empirical study of China’s remarkable transition and the possibility of replicating their model elsewhere, Joanna I. Lewis adds greater depth to a theoretical understanding of China’s technological innovation systems and its current and future role in a globalized economy. Lewis focuses on China’s specific methods of international technology transfer, its forms of international cooperation and competition, and its implementation of effective policies promoting the development of a home-grown industry. Just a decade ago, China maintained only a handful of operating wind turbines—all imported from Europe and the United States. Today, the country is the largest wind power market in the world, with turbines made almost exclusively in its own factories. Though setbacks are possible, China could one day come to dominate global wind turbine sales, becoming a hub of technological innovation and a major instigator of low-carbon economic change. —Columbia University Press

Environment

03.18.13

Baby Milk Restrictions Cause Outrage in Mainland China

from chinadialogue
The Hong Kong government’s recent listing of baby formula as a “reserved commodity” and a 1.8kg per person per day export limit has sparked widespread criticism—as well as becoming a hot topic at China’s annual session of parliament [the Lianghui,...

‘White Gold’ In China

Gilles Sabrie
New York Times
China is a large importer of illegally acquired ivory. This photo set focuses on the tradesmen who make their living off of carving the ivory, some of which have been doing so for generations.

Backed By Profit-Hungry Investors, New Approach To Farming Takes Root

Ma Yuan, Zheng Fei, Liu Ran, and Rong...
Investors in the country betting big on the organic concept have poured money into food producers and distributors, especially as food scandals make citizens more and more wary of familiar produce. 

Was S.A.R.S. Fallout A Lesson For China In Global Citizenship?

Peter Ford
Christian Science Monitor
The Chinese government’s views on transparency, in regards to issues of interational health, have changed drastically since the S.A.R.S. outbreak ten years ago, but some areas have yet to improve.

China Acknowledges Emerging Role Of Non-Profit Sector

Associated Press
China pledged on Wednesday to allow non-profit-making groups to play a greater role in society in an acknowledgement of the growing importance of independent organisations the government traditionally has treated with suspicion. 

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...