(June 8, 2011) Probe International is proud to launch Voices From China: a forum for Chinese citizens to give English readers insights into the reforms needed to turn China’s economy and environment around for the future health of the country and its people.
Voices from China
For the past 60 years, the citizens of China have tried to protect their environment. The dismal state of China’s environment today is proof of their failure, but not of their lack of effort and commitment.
Dai Qing, China’s best known environmentalist and the editor of Yangtze! Yangtze!, a book critical of the country’s massive Three Gorges dam project, is but one example of that abiding commitment. She was sentenced to 10 months in jail for speaking out in defence of China’s beloved Yangtze River.
As Dai Qing’s experience shows, without the rule of law and public oversight of government operations and law-making, Chinese citizens are unable to protect their environment. As a result, China’s natural resources have fallen foul to pollution and degradation. Sixty percent of the water in seven of China’s major rivers systems is now unsuitable for human contact; one-third of the land is contaminated by acid rain; eighty percent of the country’s rivers and lakes are drying up; two-thirds of China’s grassland has become desert; most of the country’s forests are gone; and water systems and soil throughout the land have been severely polluted by fertilizers and pesticides.
But the Internet has given the people of China a vital tool for change and a reason for hope. It has also given the country’s brave environmental researchers, writers, lawyers, scientists, and scholars who seek to save China’s environment, a way forward. With the power of information and knowledge, the citizens of China can today begin to tackle their country’s enormous environmental problems.
And they are doing so with vigour, determination, and clarity.
In the hopes of bolstering these great efforts, we are pleased to launch this new site: Voices from China. Our goal is to publish the views of China’s emerging environmental advocates as they explore the causes of China’s environmental demise and find solutions for recovery.
These dedicated citizen activists have emerged from a unique environmental English language programme (called EET), created by Dai Qing and Probe International in 2005 to bring together some 100 Chinese lawyers, journalists, and public interest researchers to explore environmental issues in English. In their own words, they can now give English readers the inside view of modern China and an understanding of the reforms needed to turn China’s economy and environment around for the future health of their country and its people.
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