The tale behind the bean: The modern history of an ancient crop

Written by Ines Prodöhl. Evidence that soy had some significance in the Chinese diet dates back some three thousand years. Besides using soybeans for food, indigenous people in Asia had known a variety of applications for the crop, such as for fertilizer, animal feed, lubricant and lighting. For centuries, however, this knowledge remained in Asia. The …

China’s environment, modernisation and investigative reporting

Written by Jingrong Tong. In a recent book I examined environmental risk discourses constructed through environmental investigative reports and their contribution to offsetting the hegemonic discourse of modernisation promulgated by the Chinese state. I analysed the practices and outputs of environmental investigative journalism, discourses on environmental problems as well as the interaction between offline reporting and online …

The Future of Civil Society under Xi Jinping

Written by Jessica C. Teets. When the film Under the Dome (穹顶之下), a documentary concerning air pollution, was released online on 28 February 2015, it was viewed 150 million times over a few days.  Although it illustrated the Chinese government&#

Why do individual Chinese participate in environmental governance?

Written by Lei Xie. China, like many parts of the world, has seen intensifying environmental degradation put traditional state-led governance under increasing strain, even as it is prompting new forms of governance that cross over state and non-state boundaries. The recent documentary film directed by Chai Jing represents an eye-catching challenge from an individual citizen. …

Fighting the Water Giant: Lawsuits against Veolia in China

Written by Wang Xinhong and Hermann Aubié. One month ago in Lanzhou, a heavily industrialized city of 3.6 million people in the northwestern province of Gansu, a district court accepted the filing of four lawsuits by fourteen citizens against Lanzhou Veolia Water Company after almost a year of struggle. From “Rumour” to Reality The cause …

Green private banks in communist China?

Written by Pieter Jansen. The new Chinese leaders have launched a plan this year for a pilot program to allow new banks to be established by private-sector companies. If the government is considering a privatization and accompanying deregulation of the banking sector, civil society organizations might have to play a bigger part in monitoring and assessing …

NGOs, Adaptive Capacity, and Hydropower Politics in China

Written by Oliver Hensengerth. On 23 January 2013, China’s State Council published its 12th Five-Year Plan for Energy Development (能源发展“十二五”规划). It forms part of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and outlines plans to begin the construction of

China and the environment: Will the sun shine?

Written by Sam Geall. Fighting official corruption in China can be achieved through a more open “sunshine government” (政府阳光), said Chinese premier Li Keqiang in a recent speech. It’s an opinion that was apparently shared by the country’s last ad

Diagnosing China’s Environmental Governance Challenges

Written by Adam Moser.  During China’s annual two sessions meeting in March, delegates gave low approval ratings to the Supreme People’s Court and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Granted, China’s judicial system and its environmental governance regime leave much to be desired. But attributing such shortcomings to these two government bodies alone is derived from …

Beyond NIMBYism: China’s Environment Social Mobilization

Written by PENG Lin and Wu Fengshi. The year 2012 marked the rise of social mobilization against industrial pollution and hazardous projects in China. In Qidong, Shifang and Ningbo, angry citizens took to the streets and voiced their opinions against construction projects. Most of these social mobilizations resembled the pattern of Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) movements observed in …