Media

03.12.13

Pig Carcasses in Shanghai River Spawn Dark Humor on Chinese Internet

The Huangpu River usually appears in glamor shots of Shanghai, serving as scenic backdrop to the colonial splendor of the Bund or the modern marvel of the Pudong skyline. But of late, a more grim and distasteful association has emerged. As of March...

Thousands Of Dead Pigs Found In River Flowing Into Shanghai

Edward Wong
New York Times
More than 3,300 dead pigs have been found in a major river that flows through Shanghai, igniting fears among city residents of contaminated tap water, according to official reports in March 2013. 

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. 

Environment

03.06.13

Environmentalists Unconvinced by Wen Jiabao’s Green Words

from chinadialogue
China’s outgoing premier Wen Jiabao vowed that the government would solve the country’s ever-worsening pollution in his final work report yesterday as he opened the annual session of parliament.But coming amid rising public concern about China’s air...

Environment

03.02.13

China Criticized over Tiger Farms and Illegal Ivory

from chinadialogue
China is under pressure to regulate its rampant trade in illegal ivory and tiger parts ahead of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), opening this weekend in Bangkok.It has also been accused of quietly stimulating...

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...

Pollution Data A ‘State Secret?’ State Media Cry Foul

Lilian Lin
Wall Street Journal
This marks the second time in less than two months that state media have come out swinging against the government over environmental issues.

Environment

02.28.13

Drought and Earthquakes Pose “Enormous Risk” to China’s Nuclear Plans

from chinadialogue
When the Fukushima nuclear disaster struck, China was building new nuclear power capacity at a rate unprecedented in world history: 40 percent of all reactors planned or under construction were in China. Targets for installed nuclear generation...

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...

Apple Supplier Faces Sanctions in China

Sarah Mishkin, Patti Waldmeir, Kathrin...
Financial Times
A manufacturer that produces Apple iPad casings faces sanctions from the Shanghai government after discharging waste that turned a local river milky white, killing fish and leaving water unfit for crop cultivation.

After The First 100 Days Of Xi Jinping

Bill Bishop
New York Times
A look at what Xi has done so far and what is on the horizon, including environmental and economic reforms. loosening media restrictions, and Xi’s formally replacing Hu Jintao as president.

Environment

02.22.13

Could Smartphones Help Clear China’s Congested Roads?

from chinadialogue
The extraordinary growth of China’s cities is well-known. Today, 160 Chinese metropolises have over one million inhabitants and more than half the population lives in urban areas, which are growing at two to three times the rate of Western cities...

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...

What Do We Make Of The Chinese Hacking?

James Fallows
Atlantic
Is this recent hacking really something new? Or merely our "threat inflation,"* cued both to the impending sequestration menace and February 2013 SOTU mentions of new efforts in cyber-security?

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...

Environment

02.19.13

China’s Disappointing Absence from U.N. Water Summit

from chinadialogue
After recent heated debate over China’s mega-dam plans, any visitor to the launch on February 11 of the U.N.’s much-vaunted International Year of Water Cooperation would have been disappointed.As well as a notable absence of any...

Return to Rivertown

Peter Hessler
National Geographic
In 1996 a Peace Corps volunteer arrived in Fuling, a sleepy town on the Yangtze, to teach English. He went back recently to find the landscape—and his former students—transformed.

Infographics

02.14.13

Who Supplies Apple? (It’s Not Just China)

Last month, Apple Inc. released its updated list of suppliers. This report says it includes “the major manufacturing locations of suppliers who provide raw materials and components or perform final assembly on Apple.” ChinaFile used this data to...

Environment

02.14.13

A Progress Report on U.S.-China Energy & Climate Change Cooperation

Leah Thompson
In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama committed to confronting climate change, stating, “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it...

Environment

02.13.13

Nuclear Fusion: An Answer to China’s Energy Problems?

from chinadialogue
The global nuclear sector has been through something of an apocalyptic patch since the disaster at Fukushima—from power station shutdowns in Japan and Germany to waste-plan chaos in the U.K. to doubts about China’s ability to showcase new reactor...

Greenland: China’s Foothold in Europe?

Paula Briscoe
Council on Foreign Relations
China’s current and planned investments in Greenland raise concerns, not only about Chinese access to more of the world’s resources but also about China’s longer term objectives and the foothold in Europe that a strong partnership with Greenland...

Environment

02.07.13

Xi Jinping Must Tackle Corruption and Boost Innovation in Food Sector

from chinadialogue
In January 2013, Australia’s biggest supermarket chain Woolworths began restricting sales of baby formula to four tins per customer after a massive increase in demand stripped shelves bare of popular brands such as Karicare.The buyers were not...

Eye-Stinging Bejiing Air Risks Lifelong Harm to Babies

Daryl Loo and Natasha Khan
Bloomberg
Air quality in the Chinese capital deteriorated beyond World Health Organization safe limits every day last month as smoke from coal-powered generators, factory emissions, car fumes, and dust amassed over the city of 20 million people.

Conversation

02.06.13

Airpocalypse Now: China’s Tipping Point?

Alex Wang, Orville Schell & more
The recent run of air pollution in China, we now know, has been worse than the air quality in airport smoking lounges. At its worst, Beijing air quality has approached levels only seen in the United States during wildfires.All of the comparisons to...

(Photo essay) Migrant Nation: Liu Jie Docuements China’s Ongoing Transformation

Liu Jie
Time
In 2011, Liu Jie, a Chinese photographer based in Beijing, visited and photographed more than 20 villages in the Chinese countryside, documenting one of the more silent but equally poignant externalities of the Chinese economic miracle: the...

Worse Than Poisoned Water: Dwindling Water, in China’s North

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
When 39 tons of the toxic chemical aniline spilled from a factory in Changzhi in China’s Shanxi province at the end of December, polluting drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people downstream along the Zhuozhang River and dangerously...

Infographics

02.03.13

Where Does Beijing’s Pollution Come From?

David Wertime & David M. Barreda from Sohu
In January alone, a stifling and noxious haze twice enveloped the Chinese capital of Beijing, pushing air quality indexes literally off the charts and inciting widespread outrage both on-line and off. Pollution—and the outcry surrounding it—has...

In a Rush to Urbanize, China Flattens 700 Mountains

Calum McLeod
USA Today
China’s shift from a rural to urban society is speeding up development projects, including one where a developer is flattening mountains to build a new city.

Media

01.30.13

Chinese Web Erupts With Widespread Calls for Change as Beijing Endures Airpocalypse 2.0

Beijingers are choking on their air—again. Just seventeen days after Chinese cyberspace erupted with complaints about air so bad that it was “beyond index,” denizens of the Chinese capital awoke once again to a city blanketed with smog. Over the...

China Burns Half of Coal Consuption Worldwide, US Figures Show

Adam Vaughn
Guardian
US government figures shows that China overtook the US as the world's biggest carbon emitter in 2007 and became world's largest energy consumer in 2010

China Appoints New Tibet Governor, Hardline Policies to Remain

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China named Losang Gyaltsen Tibet’s new governor, signalling the government won’t ease control of the Himalayan region.

China’s Pollution: The Birth Defect Angle

James Fallows
Atlantic
There are persistent rumors that the horrendous pollution in China has led to a huge increase such births in China. 

Environment

01.25.13

Climate Change, Not Grazing, Destroying the Tibetan Plateau

from chinadialogue
Sanjiangyuan—which literally translates as the “three river source area”—feeds China’s mightiest rivers. The 300,000-square kilometer region, high on western China’s Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, provides a quarter of the Yangtze’s water, almost half of...

Books

01.24.13

Shangri-La

Michael Yamashita
The legendary Chamagudao, the Tea Horse Road, winds through dizzying mountain passes, across famed rivers like the Mekong and the Yangtze, and past monasteries and meadows in a circuitous route from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in western China to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. Actually a network of roads, trails, and highways, rather than one distinct route, the Chamagudao once stretched for almost 1400 miles (2350 km)—a conduit along which the historic trade between the mighty Chinese empire and the nomadic Tibetans linked remote villages and ethnic groups. The Chinese military needed strong horses for their wars against Mongol invaders from the north, and the fiercely religious Tibetans desired tea for sacred rituals and sustenance. Once tea was introduced into Tibet around the 10th century, demand for it grew. Tea soon became a staple for Tibetans, especially when combined with their other staple, yak butter. But with Tibet’s extreme temperatures and altitudes, tea cultivation on a large scale was impossible. This set the stage for the tea-horse trade, which, by the 11th century, flourished along the Chamagudao, continuing until the 1950s. But getting these prized commodities to their growing markets was no easy feat. To transport the tea over the mountains meant many months of hard and dangerous travel for the hundreds of porters.Today, as Chinese culture merges with and even absorbs Tibetan traditions, the Tea Horse Road is a relic of a vastly different time. The Chinese are rapidly paving dirt roads to make highways for cars and trucks. Soon there will be little evidence of this once vital trade route. Though horses are no longer a military imperative for the Chinese army, Tibet has a new commodity that is in much demand in China. A homely caterpillar infected by a parasitic fungus has replaced the horse trade in Tibet. The yartsa gombu is prized for its medicinal qualities. Now Tibetans nomads drive Land Cruisers and motorcycles instead of horses, thanks to the profits they make collecting and selling the miracle mushroom worth more than gold. So trade continues, even though relics of the tea-horse trade are becoming harder to find. Following the Chamagudao, this book is a rare intimate look into the changing world of Tibet—both ancient and modern, sacred and commonplace, the rarefied and the gritty—before the legends and mysteries of the Tea Horse road disappear into the Tibetan mist. —White Star {chop}

Earthbound China

01.23.13

Appalachia Comes to Anhui

Leah Thompson
This past fall, my colleague Sun Yunfan and I were preparing to bring Coal+Ice, the documentary photography exhibition we produce for Asia Society, to rural Anhui Province to participate in the Yixian International Photography Festival. Upon hearing...

Environment

01.23.13

U.S. Cities Suffer Impact of Downwind Chinese Air Pollution

from chinadialogue
Around 9,000 feet up, on a remote mountaintop in the state of Oregon, a group of researchers are on the lookout. It is not planes or wildlife they are tracking but pollution clouds.The monitoring site is run by Dan Jaffe, professor of atmospheric...

In China, Discontent Among the Communist Party Faithful

Edward Wong
New York Times
Some Chinese say that they are starting to realize that a secure life is dependent on the defense of certain principles, perhaps most crucially freedom of expression.

In China, Can Pollution Spur Media Transparency?

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
 The Chinese press often puts the best spin on Beijing's pollution problem, questioning the accuracy of air-quality measurements and dismissing concerns as "fog." 

China Pledges to Curb Auto Emissions, Reduce Air Pollution

David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
The Ministry of Environmental Protection pledged to cut vehicle emissions, the source of about a quarter of China's air pollution, but didn't explain implementation plans. 

One Nation Under Smog: Rules for Beijing Living

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The following will sound like a joke, but I’m sorry to say it’s not: the filters for our air purifying machines are so expensive that we get ours under the table. 

Environment

01.15.13

We’re Winning the Air Pollution Data Battle—So What Next?

from chinadialogue
Last year, China made a breakthrough in the publication of air quality data, as more than sixty cities started to monitor and publish levels of the dangerous air pollutant PM2.5. But the figures themselves were depressing. With PM2.5—fine...

China Allows Media to Report on Air Pollution Crisis

Edward Wong
New York Times
The wide coverage of Beijing’s brown, soupy air, which has been rated “hazardous” or worse by monitors since last week, was the most open in recent memory.

Environmental Stocks Surge on China’s Smog Pollution Fears

William Kazer and Li Yue
Wall Street Journal
While Beijing struggled with pollution, prices of environmental protection stocks surged as investors bought stocks that could rise if policymakers say “enough.” 

Breathing in Beijing: Coping with China’s Smog

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Were the Chinese cement industry a country, it would be the sixth biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.

Cold in China Kills 180,000 Cattle, Threatens Power

Calum McLeod
USA Today
A severly cold winter is causing blizzards in the north, threatening electricity supplies in the south where the government is unused to dealing with such temperatures. 

Environment

01.08.13

Officials Failing to Stop Textile Factories Dumping Waste in Qiantong River

from chinadialogue
The Qiantang River is the most important river in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, one of the country’s most developed regions. On its banks, textiles plants work to supply fashion labels around the world. But they are polluting the environment in...

Environment

01.07.13

Taxi Drivers in China Have Highest PM2.5 Air Pollutant Exposure

from chinadialogue
A study conducted by Greenpeace has revealed that taxi drivers suffer the greatest levels of exposure to PM2.5 air pollution: three times that of the average person, and five times the world standard.The study, carried out by Greenpeace in...

Environment

01.07.13

Car-Driving Officials in China Urged to Get on a Bus

from chinadialogue
China’s new leadership has asked government officials to travel simply and, in normal circumstances, not to close roads to ease their journeys. In a recent visit to the Qianhai area of Shenzhen, south China, incoming president Xi Jinping made sure...

Chemical Spill Pollutes Shanxi Politics

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
After a chemical spill polluted north China waterways–and delays in reporting it raised the specter of an earlier cover-up–the problem is seeping into the political system.

Environment

01.02.13

China’s New “Middle Class” Environmental Protests

from chinadialogue
China’s urban residents (or the new “middle class”) protest on the streets only very rarely. Discontent is expressed almost exclusively online, via angry typing. But this has changed over the last five years—protests have come offline and on to the...

Chinese Taste for Fish Rankles

Samuel Wade
China Digital Times
A Wall Street Journal report on the seizure of Chinese fishing boats off Argentina highlights China’s growing appetite for seafood and its geopolitical effects.

For China’s ‘Great Renewal,’ 8 Trends to Keep an Eye On

Bill Bishop
Deal Book
The Bo Xilai scandal, an economic downturn and the leadership switch from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping made 2012 one of China’s most eventful years. It is hard to imagine that next year will be as exciting, but there will be change.

Environment

12.21.12

China’s Environment in 2012

from chinadialogue
From mass protests to trade wars, shale-gas drilling to hazardous cosmetics, it’s been a topsy turvy twelve months for China’s environment. Here’s a quick refresher of the year that was.JanuaryThe year got off to a bang – literally. The customary...

Video

12.20.12

Stars in the Haze

Joshua Frank
Flying kites is the quintessential Chinese pastime. But “wind zithers” or “paper sparrow hawks,” as they are known in Chinese, also have a long history as tools. Over millennia, Chinese have used them for measuring the wind, gauging distances, and...

China's Motorways: Get Your Kicks on Route G6

The Economist
Economist
China is building a motorway across the Tibetan plateau. For some, reaching Lhasa by road is the ultimate dream.

Environment

12.07.12

Environmentalist Liu Futang Found Guilty of “Illegal Business Activities”

from chinadialogue
Well-known Chinese environmentalist Liu Futang has been convicted of carrying out “illegal business activities,” given a three-year suspended prison sentence, and fined 17,000 yuan.Liu Futang, named best citizen journalist in chinadialogue’s 2012...

Mongolia Finds China Can Be Too Close for Comfort

Charles Hutzler
Associated Press
In a global rush to get rich off China, Mongolia works to ensure that Chinese investment doesn't become Chinese dominance.

Opinion: How Cities Can Save China

Henry Paulson
New York Times
Working on urbanization will foster solutions to the challenges the world faces from China's pressure on ecosystems, resources and commodities.