Tag: pollution

China surveys Yangtze dolphin as extinction looms

(November 30, 2012) Chinese scientists have begun an expedition to count how many endangered finless porpoise remain in the Yangtze River. A similar survey in 2006 found only 1,800 of the animals, considered a national treasure, as well as a symbol of the mighty river itself and a reflection of the great waterway’s health.

Whitewashing the Three Gorges Dam

(October 15, 2012) Lauded by Chinese officialdom as a symbol of its growing might, the Three Gorges Dam had already been in operation for eight years when the Three Gorges Corporation issued its first-ever corporate social responsibility report. The release of the CSR report coincided with a wave of heightened concern surrounding the dam’s failings and impacts, and a rare admission by China’s State Council that all was not well with the jewel in its crown of modernity. A commentary by Li Tie at the time, published by China’s respected South Weekend, described the Corporation’s document as awash in insipid content” and exactly not what the public needed, which was honesty. Li even went so far as to say reports that did not respond honestly to widespread concerns, in effect, posed a threat to the nation’s social stability, leaving Chinese citizens more likely to place their faith in the country’s rumor mill than official documents they could not trust. Li’s misgivings appear to have only gained in resonance this year, as China’s recent summer of protest bears out.

Weibo Watch: Issue 9

(November 21, 2011) In this instalment of Weibo Watch: the media investigates cadmium-contaminated rice, technological bird kills, and rivers polluted with heavy metals or choked with weeds; netizens catch online vendors selling protected species; and professors kneel in protest against steel factories, setting off a heated debate.

Face changing sea

(June 29, 2011) Rongcheng is one of China’s loveliest cities, surrounded by both the Yellow and Bhai seas. When writer Yang Furui pays a visit, he finds economic gains have taken a severe toll on not only Rongcheng’s seashore, but China’s southeastern shoreline in general.

Shouldering China’s toxic burden

(March 23, 2011) Four years ago a World Bank report landed on the desk of the Chinese health ministry containing shocking statistics on pollution-related deaths in the country, so much so that Beijing promptly engineered the removal of a third of it over fears that the findings, if they went public, could spark “social unrest”.