The Hungry Years

Pankaj Mishra
New Yorker
Pankaj Mishra reviews two new books on Mao Zedong and the Great Famine of 1958-62.

Soft Power: China's Wanda Eyes U.S. Hotel, Movie Deals

Terrill Yue Jones
Reuters
Wanda, the world's No 1 movie theater owner, is planning a $10 billion spending spree to make Hollywood film co-productions and buy and build hotels in U.S. cities. 

Caixin Media

12.03.12

Toxic Effects and Environmental Nondisclosure

High-profile talk emphasizing environmental action at the Communist Party’s 18th national congress attracted a lot of attention. News from the November proceedings spurred industry demands for more information and pushed stock prices higher for...

China at Center of Global Illegal Timber Trade, NGO says

David Fogarty
Reuters
China's $4 billion annual timber appetite is driving illegal trade and stripping African and Asian forests and fuelling conflict, the Environmental Investigation Agency says.

Environment

11.28.12

Russia’s Siberian Dams Power “Electric Boilers” in Beijing

from chinadialogue
The underdeveloped, sparsely populated Eastern Siberia region that shares a 4,000-kilometer border with China has vast resources to offer its heavily populated and fast-developing neighbor. Hydroelectricity is key among them.A major new...

Environment

11.27.12

Millions Await News of Test-tube Panda Taotao’s “Return” to the Wild

from chinadialogue
On October 11, at the age of two years and two months, giant panda Taotao went home.This was China’s second attempt to introduce a giant panda born through artificial insemination into the wild. Unlike last time, however, Taotao was born and raised...

Will China's New Leaders Change Tibet policy?

Martin Patience
BBC
Xi Zhongxun, father of China's new president, Xi Jinping, was a former leader known for a more conciliatory approach to Tibetans.

China WIll Build the Tallest Building in the World in Just 90 Days

Jesus Diaz
Gizmodo
Sky City and its 2,749 feet distributed over 220 floors will grow in just 90 days in Changsha city, at the rate of five floors per day.

As Wen Jiabao Departs, China’s Dam Plans to Accelerate

David Stanway
Reuters
Dam building slowed considerably under Wen, who personally intervened to block hydropower projects and avoid the potential for protest from local populations. Projects such as the $59 billion Three Gorges Dam have been the focus of criticism over...

Environment

11.15.12

An Insight into the Green Vocabulary of the Chinese Communist Party

from chinadialogue
After years of neglect, the environment is gradually gaining more attention from China’s leaders. The most noticeable manifestation of this is in their vocabulary.Six months ago, Hu Jintao, speaking at the opening of a study session for provincial...

Environment

11.15.12

China’s Low-Carbon Zones Lack Motivation, Guidance, and Ideas

from chinadialogue
None of China’s so-called low-carbon industrial zones currently live up to the name. That’s the conclusion to draw from the work of the U.S. Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), which this year released a guide for the development of green...

China Mandates 'Social Risk' Reviews for Big Projects

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The move is aimed at curtailing the large and increasingly violent environmental protests of the last year.

Environment

11.02.12

Clampdown on Gold Dredging in China Sees Switch to Mongolia and Russia

from chinadialogue
The Heilongjiang basin, in northeast China, was attracting gold prospectors as early as the late Qing dynasty, which collapsed in 1912. Panning for gold is damaging for rivers and wetlands, but at the time the region was sparsely populated and only...

Books

11.01.12

China’s Environmental Challenges

Judith Shapiro
China’s huge environmental challenges are significant for us all. They affect not only the health and well-being of China but the very future of the planet. In this trailblazing book, noted China specialist and environmentalist Judith Shapiro investigates China’s struggle to achieve sustainable development against a backdrop of acute rural poverty and soaring middle class consumption. Using five core analytical concepts to explore the complexities of this struggle - the implications of globalization, the challenges of governance; contested national identity, the evolution of civil society and problems of environmental justice and equity - Shapiro poses a number of pressing questions: Do the Chinese people have the right to the higher living standards enjoyed in the developed world? Are China’s environmental problems so severe that they may shake the government’s stability, legitimacy and control? To what extent are China’s environmental problems due to patterns of Western consumption? And in a world of increasing limits on resources and pollution “sinks,” is it even possible to build an equitable system in which people enjoy equal access to resources without taking them from successive generations, from the poor, or from other species?China and the planet are at a pivotal moment; the path towards a more sustainable development model is still open. But - as Shapiro persuasively argues - making this choice will require humility, creativity, and a rejection of business as usual. The window of opportunity will not be open much longer. —Polity

A Third Day of Protests in China Against Refinery Reach Third Day

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Hundreds protesting a petrochemical plant's expansion plans, swarmed Ningbo port tossing water bottles at riot police officers.

Caixin Media

10.19.12

Flying Splinters

Liu Futang expressed a sense of foreboding just before his recent arrest by posting a microblog entry that began, “If one day I’m invited out for tea, please don’t worry about me.”“Drink tea” is a euphemism in China for an unwanted interrogation by...

Environment

10.19.12

Overfishing Pushes 80% of Chinese Fishermen Towards Bankruptcy

from chinadialogue
In mid-September, the fishing season got under way as usual in Ningbo, on China’s east coast, after the three-month season when fishing is forbidden. Over 2,000 steel-hulled boats headed out to sea. But, on board, there was little cause for optimism...

Environment

10.11.12

China’s New Leaders Must Respect Environmental Rights

from chinadialogue
China has achieved remarkable economic successes over the last three decades. For years, it has led the world in GDP growth. But widespread industrialization and urbanization, along with growth based on increased use of resources, mean the nation...

Environment

10.09.12

Top Clothing Brands Linked to Water Pollution Scandal in China

from chinadialogue
China is the major hub of the international textile industry, exporting US$200 billion worth of textile and apparel products in 2010—accounting for 34 percent of global exports.It’s provided cheap T-shirts and other clothes to people around the...

Glut of Solar Panels Poses a New Threat to China

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
China’s supply of solar panels has grown faster than soaring global demand, sparking a price war.

Environment

10.02.12

Decline of Bees Forces China’s Apple Farmers to Pollinate by Hand

from chinadialogue
In the last fifty years, the global human population has nearly doubled, while the average calories consumed per person has increased by about 30 percent.To cope with the ever growing demand for food, more land has been brought into agricultural...

Caixin Media

09.28.12

Living on Dangerous Ground

Fractures had long plagued the rocky mountainside next to Huang Daihong’s home. When an earthquake jolted Luozehe County in Yunnan province, Huang watched a large black boulder release a shower of stones that instantly killed her neighbor.The...

Environment

09.20.12

Desertification in Tibet’s Wetlands Threatens the Yellow River

from chinadialogue
The “kidneys” of the Tibetan plateau are failing.The Zoige Wetland National Nature Reserve, which sits on the northeastern fringe of western China’s Qinghai-Tibet plateau, contains the largest alpine peat wetlands in the world. It is also the...

The River That Did Run Red

DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Daily Mail
It is the last thing the residents of Chongqing would have expected to see.But the Yangtze river, which runs through the city in south-western China, turned a bright shade of orange-red yesterday.The waterway where the Yangtze met the Jialin River...

Environment

09.06.12

Sinking Shanghai “Not Prepared to Admit” Climate Change Threat

from chinadialogue
It’s been a brutal summer for much of urban China. From the once-in-sixty-years storm that lashed Beijing in July, killing seventy-nine people and costing US$1.6 million, to the typhoon floods that triggered mass evacuations in Jingdezhen city, the...

Environment

09.06.12

Chinese Fear Price Hikes After Electricity Reforms

from chinadialogue
This summer, Chinese people have been thinking twice before turning on their air conditioners.In July, tiered electricity pricing came into effect across China, except in the far western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. This means the people who...

Europe to Investigate Chinese Exports of Solar Panels

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Defying Chinese threats of retaliation against European wines and industrial materials, the European Union is preparing to begin on Thursday morning a broad investigation into whether Chinese companies have been exporting solar panels for less than...

Caixin Media

09.05.12

Making a Killing on Herbal Medicine

Mushroom gatherers converge and crawl on hillsides in Qinghai province every March while foraging for wild caterpillar fungus.Theirs is not a garden-variety morel hunt. Caterpillar fungus is a hard-to-find parasite that infects and mummifies a host...

Guangzhou Moves to Limit New Cars

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The crackdown by China’s third-largest city is the most restrictive in a series of moves by big Chinese cities that are putting quality-of-life issues ahead of short-term economic growth, something the central government has struggled to do on a...

Yao Ming Uses His Star Image to Help Fight Elephants, Rhino Poaching

Anup Kaphle
Washington Post
As a goodwill ambassador to WildAid, a nonprofit dedicated to ending illegal wildlife trading, Yao took a trip to Kenya last month in August, where he spent several days interacting with wildlife officials and seeing some of the effects of poaching...

Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits

Jeffrey Gettleman
New York Times
The vast majority of the illegal ivory — experts say as much as 70 percent — is flowing to China, and though the Chinese have coveted ivory for centuries, never before have so many of them been able to afford it. China’s economic boom has created a...

Environment

08.30.12

Milk Price War Puts Squeeze on China’s Dairy Farmers

from chinadialogue
China’s dairy industry has been in a precarious state since 2008, the year of the Sanlu milk-powder scandal, when babies across the country were poisoned by melamine-tainted infant formula. This incident revealed to the world the flaws in China’s...

Water-transfer Projects "Essential," Says Chinese Scientist

Xu Nan, Zhang Chun
chinadialogue
So the ability to move water around is essential, to distribute the water more evenly. Of course you need to work in coordination, to balance the ecological impact. But you can’t store and transfer water without dams and reservoirs, can you?

Environment

08.28.12

China’s South-North Water Transfer is “Irrational”

from chinadialogue
Ruth Matthews, executive director of the Water Footprint Network, tells Tom Levitt how food has come to dominate our water use and why China may need to re-think its South-North water transfer project.Tom Levitt: What do you mean by our water...

Environmental Activism Gains a Foothold in China

Harold Thibault
Guardian
The demonstrators gathered at dawn in Qidong, a small coastal town north of Shanghai. By noon, the local government headquarters were occupied and files were being thrown out of the windows. In the heat of the moment the party secretary's shirt...

Environment

08.20.12

Tibetans Fight Tourism on Holy Lakes

from chinadialogue
Mining, dam construction, sand excavation, poaching, and grassland degradation are seriously damaging the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, the world’s most fragile ecosystem. But without a second thought, the tourism industry has joined their ranks. The only...

Gauging the Impact of Warming On Asia’s Life-Giving Monsoons

Christina Larson
Yale Environment 360
China is currently experiencing a variety of impacts from the monsoon, ranging from an extended drought in southern China to a heavy monsoon season this year in northern China.

Environment

08.15.12

Can New Trials Boost Chinese Wind?

from chinadialogue
For the last half year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) has been making its interest in Inner Mongolia’s western regions crystal clear. This part of north China, rich in wind-power potential, has hosted group after group of energy officials...

Environment

08.15.12

Official Shrugs Off Public Food “Panic”

from chinadialogue
Wang Guowei heads up the policy and legislation department at the State Council Food Safety Commission. He spoke to Xu Nan and Zhou Wei about the nature of China’s food safety problems and the ongoing policy response.chinadialogue: Compared with...

Thirsty New Coal Bases to Trigger "Water Crisis" in China's North-west

Monica Tan
Greenpeace
In China's arid northwest, the state government is planning to build 16 new, water-gobbling, coal power bases by 2015. It is an area rich in coal but scarce in water – per capita water supply is one tenth of the national average&...

Caixin Media

08.13.12

We Make It Pour, Declare Cloud-Seeders

Will it be clear or gray skies today? Increasingly, the answer in China may be decided by the government.The Chinese have been seeding clouds for decades. Airplanes equipped with rocket-launchers and chemicals for inducing rainfall are based in...

Environment

08.09.12

Data Gaps Hobble Carbon Trading

from chinadialogue
Late last October, China’s top economic planning body—the National Development and Reform Commission—instructed the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Shenzhen, plus Hubei and Guangdong provinces, to get ready to run carbon-trading...

Food in China: A Chemical Age

Gong Jing, Cui Zheng, Wang Qingfeng
chinadialogue
Wang Shiping, a food-science doctoral tutor at China Agricultural University explained that farmers couldn’t have come up with the idea of using melamine in milk to give the appearance of high protein levels, nor could the average technician. That...

Environment

08.08.12

Doomed Toilet Scheme Was “Valuable Experience”

from chinadialogue
For a large share of the 750 million urban people worldwide who lack adequate sanitation, flush toilets connected to municipal sewers are not a viable option due to poverty, water shortages, groundwater contamination risks, and other issues. The...

China in Europe: Buying Clean Tech

Xie Dan
chinadialogue
Since Hanenergy announced that it was buying a subsidiary of German solar firm Q-cells, the Chinese company’s senior vice president Jason Chow has been fielding calls about further possible purchases. “Before they thought we weren’t serious, but now...

Environment

08.02.12

Eco-toilet Scheme Ends in Failure

from chinadialogue
The large banner at the front gate of what used to be called Daxing Ecological Community has been changed to read “Civilized City.” A showroom by the nearby supermarket is locked up and empty while a little further away, near a scenic lake, lies a...

Qidong Protest Prompts Anti-Japan Sentiment

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Protests in the eastern Chinese city of Qidong ended with victory for opponents of a government-run pipeline project that they claimed would increase pollution in local waters . But it also appears to have exacerbated anti-Japanese sentiment both...

Environment

08.01.12

Protests Show Chinese Kids’ Fears

from chinadialogue
The decision to cancel the metal refinery project in Shifang last month after protesters clashed with the police has been widely reported in the Chinese and global media. This is not the first time a project has been shelved due to public...

"Greyjing"? Air pollution Fouls Beijing's Name

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
With its parks, centuries-old palaces, history and culture, Beijing should be one of the more pleasant capitals of the world. Instead, it's considered among the worst to live in because of chronic air pollution.

Caixin Media

07.31.12

Shedding Light on the Solar Crisis

After Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., a Wuxi-headquartered photovoltaic cell producer, went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005, China’s solar industry grew at an astonishing speed. More than 200 photovoltaic product manufacturers are...

Massive Protest Near Shanghai Scuttles Wastewater Pipeline

Jimmy
Protests against a planned pipeline to channel wastewater into the ocean for a Japanese paper manufacturer near a major fishery on China’s east coast (just north of Shanghai) has turned ugly.  Thousands of angry protesters in Qidong in...

Caixin Media

07.26.12

Buried Under Water

Ding Zhijian, a 34-year-old editor at a children’s literature publishing company, was on his way home after meeting a colleague when a horrific rainstorm hit Beijing.Earlier that day, his wife had asked Ding not to leave the house. It was the...

WTO to Probe China's Rare-Earth Policies

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
The World Trade Organization has set up a panel to probe China's rare-earth export policies, a widely expected move following requests by the U.S., the European Union and Japan, the trade body said in a report on its website Tuesday.The trade...

Floods in Beijing

The Economist
Economist
For a capital city unusual, and perhaps unique, in being situated neither on a coastline nor along the banks of a big river, Beijing has been under water a lot of late. Violent summer rainstorms flooded the city in June of last year, overwhelming...

The Beijing Deluge of 2012

Jeremy Goldkorn
Danwei
Xinhua reported on Monday morning that the death toll after torrential rains pounded Beijing on Saturday had climbed to 37. The report said that “Among the victims, 25 were drowned, six were killed in house collapses, one...

When Beijing Cleared the Air

FELICITY BARRINGER
New York Times
An effort by one city (the world’s 19th most populous metropolitan area, with 12.5 million people) led to emissions reductions that, if made permanent and multiplied by 360, would be enough to avoid the concentrations of greenhouse gases that could...

Heaviest Rains in 60 Years Kill 37 in Beijing

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The Chinese capital's heaviest rainstorm in six decades killed at least 37 people, flooded streets and stranded 80,000 people at the main airport, state media and the government said on Sunday.

Reports

07.20.12

Trends in Global CO2 Emissions

Jos G.J. Olivier, Greet Janssens-Maenhout, Jeroen A.H.W. Peters
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
Emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, reached an all-time high in 2011. The authors of this report summarize and analyze trends in carbon dioxide emissions on a country-by-country basis, finding that China’s continued high...

Average Chinese Person’s Carbon Footprint Now Equals European’s

Duncan Clark
Guardian
The average Chinese person's carbon footprint is now almost on a par with the average European's, figures released on Wednesday reveal. China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in 2006, though its emissions per person have always...