(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.
(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.
(July 20, 2012) Lakes in large number, once a plentiful distinction for the province of Hubei, are vanishing after years of “growth” without rule of law.
(July 17, 2012) No city in China provides safe tap water to all of its residents, claims a new report by Caixin Online. Water treatment is too costly for city budgets, say some officials; others say even when properly treated, water pollution and old pipes compromise tap water.
(February 1, 2012) China’s cyber citizens, or ‘netizens’ as they are known, are forcing their government to come clean-er on air pollution.
(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.
(October 21, 2011) China’s officials have admitted that the nation’s water supplies are dangerously polluted, and pledged to spend four trillion yuan on water conservation projects over the next decade. But money isn’t the problem; despite hundreds of billions of yuan already spent, pollution is only getting worse.
Three years after the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, geologist Yang Yong investigates the proliferation of hastily approved mining and industry projects putting the area at risk of further geological disasters.
(September 5, 2011) City-dwellers in China say they have an urban water crisis with shortages and pollution posing the gravest threats, a new survey reveals.
(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.
(March 25, 2011) In an effort to reduce air pollution, the Chinese government has found a way to outsource its problem.
(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”.
(February 28, 2011) Reuters reports on an unusually frank essay by the Chinese environment minister on how environmental devastation could stunt economic development.
(February 24, 2011) Beijing-based water expert Wang Jian recounts how decades of environmental degradation have dried up Beijing’s “Mother River.”
(February 23, 2011) Chinese official media reports that deadly chemicals from mining operations are poisoning the watershed.