£17.99 | $31.95

11 April 2013
ISBN: 9781780323404
256 pages
216 x 138mm
Asian Arguments

China and the Environment

The Green Revolution

By Sam Geall

Sixteen of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China. A serious water pollution incident occurs once every two-to-three days. China's breakneck growth causes great concern about its global environmental impacts, as others look to China as a source for possible future solutions to climate change. But how are Chinese people really coming to grips with environmental problems? This book provides access to otherwise unknown stories of environmental activism and forms the first real-life account of China and its environmental tensions.

'China and the Environment' provides a unique report on the experiences of participatory politics that have emerged in response to environmental problems, rather than focusing only on macro-level ecological issues and their elite responses. Featuring previously untranslated short interviews, extracts from reports and other translated primary documents, the authors argue that going green in China isn't just about carbon targets and energy policy; China's grassroots green defenders are helping to change the country for the better.


`This superb collection of vivid case studies gives plenty of evidence that Chinese citizens across the country are not going to sit down and do nothing while pollution slowly kills them. With detailed accounts of resistance against polluting corporations and colluding officials, this is an authentic and credible report from the great battleground of modern Chinese environmentalism - a battle over not just China's air, but the air of the rest of the planet.' - Kerry Brown, Professor and Director, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney

'For anyone interested in China, or in the environment, let alone interested in the environment movement in China, this is an invaluable book. The broad analysis is insightful, and the case studies highly instructive. And the stakes could hardly be higher: without China on board, prospects for a genuinely sustainable world disappear in a miasma of industrial pollution.' - Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future

'This is a lively, detailed, and eminently readable account of the struggles of Chinese environmental citizens' groups to carve out space for information transparency, public participation, and intellectual freedom. Beautifully written by a team of activist researchers who have themselves been intimately involved in the challenges and promise of China's emerging environmental civil society, China and the Environment provides a grassroots view of the courageous efforts of China's ENGOs to ameliorate the current crisis and shape China's prospects for a sustainable future.' - Judith Shapiro, American University, author of China's Environmental Challenges and Mao's War against Nature

'People around the world have begun to understand the extent of China's environmental crisis. But the essays in this book convey what most readers will consider genuine news: the struggle within China, by Chinese journalists, officials, and ordinary citizens to reverse the trend toward destructive development in their country. 'China and the Environment' will be useful and very enlightening to reader in China and around the world.' - James Fallows, 'The Atlantic,' author of 'China Airborne.'

'This is a superb and engaging book that explains how China is grappling with one of the most pressing issues facing our world today. In compelling fashion, the authors introduce us to the activists, journalists and lawyers who are fighting for cleaner air and water, and to the institutional obstacles that remain in their path. This is a must-read for anyone who has heard about an environmental protest in China and wondered not only what the real story behind it was, but also which way the story of China's "green revolution" is heading.' - Gady Epstein, China correspondent, The Economist.

'There have been very few stories of China over the past decade more important than the decline of the environment and the rise of civil society. The authors of this excellent collection of essays have intimate knowledge of both and they bring their expertise to the fore with lucid prose, lively description and a wealth of horrendous detail.' - Jonathan Watts, author of When A Billion Chinese Jump.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The return of Chinese civil society - Isabel Hilton
1. China's environmental journalists: a rainbow confusion - Sam Geall
2. The birth of Chinese environmentalism: key campaigns - Olivia Boyd
3. The Yangzonghai case: struggling for environmental justice - Adam Moser
4. Alchemy of a protest: the case of Xiamen PX - Jonathan Ansfield
5. Defending Tiger Leaping Gorge - Liu Jianqiang

About the Author:

Sam Geall is Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography of China at the University of Oxford and Executive Editor of chinadialogue.net. He is an editor of 'Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability 7/10: China, India, and East and Southeast Asia: Assessing Sustainability'. Sam has written for many international publications including The Guardian, Foreign Policy, New Humanist, openDemocracy, Index on Censorship and Green Futures. He is a Fellow of the RSA.