Rare bird gift to Japan

Source: SCMP (5/7/18)
The two rare birds that could give a lift to China’s ties with Japan
Beijing might announce the donation of a pair of crested ibises during the Chinese premier’s trip to Tokyo, the first gift of its kind in more than a decade
Kyodo News

The crested ibis was thought to be extinct in the wild until seven were found in Yang county in 1981. Photo: Xinhua

China is expected to agree to donate a pair of crested ibises to Japan during a summit meeting later this week in the hope that it will mark the two countries’ improving ties, bilateral diplomatic sources said.

If Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agree to the donation in Tokyo on Wednesday, it will be China’s first donation of the endangered birds to Japan in 11 years. Continue reading

Chinese Ecologies

Chinese Ecologies
An International Symposium on the Environment and Indigeneity
Harvard University
April 6-7, 2018


April 6
Tsai Auditorium, CGIS-South, 1730 Cambridge Street)

13:00-13:10 Welcome Remarks

13:10-14:25 Panel 1: Articulating the Polemics of the Anthropocene
Chair: Karen Thornber (Harvard University)

Haiyan Lee (Stanford University)
Through Thick and Thin: The Romance of the Species in the Anthropocene

Christopher Coggins (Bard College at Simon’s Rock)
Rethinking “Environment” and “Indigenous:” the Persistence of Imperial Indigeneity

Qilin Long (Guangzhou University)
Ecological Disaster and the Writing Style of Chinese Contemporary Literature in the New Century Continue reading

China wins first battle in war against pollution

Source: Sup China (3/12/18)
China wins first battle in ‘war against pollution’
By Lucas Niewenhuis

For many years now, China has struggled to balance its economic development with environmental sustainability. The problem became especially unavoidable, undeniable, and irresistible for overseas media in 2013, when Beijing and its surroundings faced the “airpocalypse,” an all-encompassing blanket of smog in historic proportions. By 2014, Premier Li Keqiang vowed a “war against pollution,” a proposal whose seriousness was met with some skepticism at the time. The ambivalence of the government was proved, some argued, when a 2015 documentary called Under the Dome detailed the intractability of the problem of air pollution, and was censored after a week — long enough to raise awareness, but not long enough, perhaps, to birth an environmental movement for lasting change.

Now it is clear that air pollution, particularly in China’s largest cities, is rapidly declining. Continue reading

Sino-British botanical exchanges in the 18th-19th centuries

I would like to introduce this incoming talk about the botanical interactions between Britain and China in the 18th century which I will co-present on March 24th in Oxford.

Botanical Art, Botanical Commerce: Britain meets China at the Dawn of Modernity
Oxford (United Kingdom) March 24th (12:45)


Former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew Sir Peter Crane, author and expert in the history of science, medicine and culture Jordan Goodman and expert in Sino-British exchanges and China Trade paintings Josepha Richard discuss the John Bradby Blake collection.


The Oak Spring Garden Foundation, Virginia, USA, contains the archive of 18th-century East India Company supercargo John Bradby Blake. Blake first visited Canton in 1767/68 as a trader and, before his death in 1773, his collaboration with the Chinese artist Mauk-Sow-U produced over 150 striking and botanically accurate paintings of Chinese plants. These paintings and the associated archives provide details of an interesting life and previously little-known dimensions of late 18th-century social and scientific interactions between the British and Chinese, including British attempts to secure living plants that could prove useful at home and in its colonies. Continue reading

Animal Writing in Taiwan Literature

Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, Issue Number 41: Special Issue on “Animal Writing in Taiwan Literature” is available now. See the link for more information. Please also see the table of contents below.


Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series
Issue Number 41, January, 2018
ISBN: 978-986-350-262-3
GPN: 1010700001

Publisher: US-Taiwan Literature Foundation & National Taiwan University Press

台灣文學英譯叢刊(No. 41): 台灣文學的動物書寫專輯

Kuo-ch’ing Tu (杜國清)、 Terence Russell(羅德仁) 編
Chia-ju Chang (張嘉如), Guest-Editor (客座編輯)

Table of Contents:

Foreword to the Special Issue on Animal Writing in Taiwan Literature/Kuo-ch’ing Tu
「台灣文學的動物書寫專輯」卷頭語/杜國清 Continue reading

Animal rights activism in China

Source: CPI Analysis (3/5/18)
China’s Voice for the Voiceless
By Peter J. Li

In the summer of 2017, I wrote for CNN-International that China was mired in a “civil war” over dogs. Two camps of people who have opposing views on the role of dogs have clashed since the final years of the 1990s. Animal lovers and their supporters believe that China has long passed the days when people had to eat anything edible for survival. To them, dogs are no food but companions. Dog meat is no traditional food. Twice in the country’s dynastic past, Chinese emperors tried to outlaw dog meat consumption. This position is not shared by the opposing camp. Dog meat traders and their supporters believe that dogs are like livestock animals. Consumption of dog meat is no difference from consumption of beef, pork and fish. They see dog meat consumption as a right, a “human right.”  If Westerners can devour beef, foie gras, horse meat, seal meat, whale and dolphin meat, what moral right do they and their Chinese lackeys have to criticise dog meat consumption? Continue reading

Environmental Humanities, China and Japan–cfp

“Environmental Humanities, China and Japan”
CFP: Roundtable at the Modern Language Association convention
Chicago, IL, January 3-6, 2019

This roundtable considers recent developments in the intersection of modern Chinese and Japanese studies and the environmental humanities, broadly defined. The roundtable is organized by the Modern and Contemporary Chinese forum and cosponsored by the Japanese since 1900 forum.

Please send a 300-word abstract, a short bibliography, and a short bio to Christopher K. Tong (christopherktong@gmail.com) by March 9, 2018. While MLA membership is not required at this stage, presenters will be asked to join the MLA as part of the proposal process.

Ecologizing Taiwan–cfp

Ecologizing Taiwan: Nature, Society, Culture–Call for Papers
Co-edited by David Wang and Andrea Bachner

The International Journal of Taiwan Studies, cosponsored by the European Association of Taiwan Studies and Academia Sinica, is a principal outlet for the dissemination of cutting-edge research on Taiwan. We are currently inviting submissions for a special issue titled Ecologizing Taiwan: Nature, Society, Culture.

This special issue proposes Taiwan as a point of departure to situate ecological thought and think beyond contemporary bio- and eco-politics. Extending the definition of ecology to encompass social relations and human subjectivity as well as environmental concerns, we propose to put all we do, think, and feel about Taiwan in the context of the whole to which we belong: the human, nonhuman, and post-human Sinosphere as well as the earth. Continue reading

Ban in China’s coal country

Source: NYT (2/10/18)
In China’s Coal Country, a Ban Brings Blue Skies, Cold Homes

A black market coal store in Qiaoli, China. The nearby city of Linfen was once one of the world’s most heavily polluted cities. CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

QIAOLI, China — A monument to China’s efforts to wean itself from coal rises on the outskirts of this village deep in the heart of the nation’s coal country.

Scores of old coal stoves have been dumped in a lot, removed by government decree in recent months in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas furnaces.

“Defend blue sky and breathe together,” an exhortation painted on the brick wall surrounding the lot says. “Manage haze and work together.” Continue reading

Becoming Environmental–cfp

Please see the below CFP for a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies, based out of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University, Montréal.

Deadline for submission is March 31, 2018.

Call for Submissions: “Becoming Environmental: Media, Logistics, and Ecological Change”
Special Issue of  Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies

Synoptique is inviting submissions for an upcoming special issue entitled “Becoming Environmental: Media, Logistics, and Ecological Change.” The focus of this issue will be on the increasing entanglements of global economies of extraction and the circulation of media. The title of this issue is inspired by Jennifer Gabrys’ “becoming environmental” of sensory technologies (2016), where computational media becomes constitutive to the very environment, and subject formation within it, rather than simply operating in the environment as a backdrop. We propose to expand this imperative to the distinctive ways media—from computation, infrastructures, screens, technologies of circulation, and different modes of visualization—become environmental, remaining attentive to how these emerging human/nonhuman relations are constantly reconfigured, if not naturalized, via the state, global market, or other ideological projects. Continue reading

The eco-conscious photography of Duzi

Source: Sup China (12/14/17)
The Big Picture: The Eco-Conscious Photography Of Duzi
“Science can help us understand the facts, but art communicates them in a way that gets people really talking.”

From “Marine Reclamation”

The 2017 Lishui Photography Festival 丽水摄影节 in Zhejiang Province was held in November with the kind of razzmatazz one has come to expect from a large-scale Chinese event bearing the official seal. Festivities began with the obligatory opening ceremony comprising predictable song-and-dance routines punctuated by vaguely jingoistic speeches from local honchos. The pomp set the tone for a festival gigantic in scale: More than 1,500 exhibitions infiltrated all quarters of Lishui 丽水, from North American exhibitions curated by New Yorker Jim Ramer to community photography projects peppering the alleyways of the old town. Legions of volunteers equipped with high-school English were on hand to point lost festival attendees in the right direction, while public buses were free, ensuring visitors could get from photo seminar to workshop to bar with as little bother as a third-tier Chinese city might otherwise cause. Continue reading

Ambitious national park system

Source: Sup China (11/21/17)
Inside China’s Ambitious Plan To Create Its First National Park System

When Zhu Ziyun 朱子云 first set foot in the area of Sanjiangyuan 三江源, he was taken aback by the natural beauty that unfolded before him. It was July 2011, a fierce summer month for those on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai Province, and Zhu, then a junior studying bioscience at Peking University, experienced mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement. Born and raised in a metropolitan environment, Zhu had never been to a place where cell phone reception was a luxury, power failure was the norm, and the best hotel in the region lacked private showers. But as an aspiring bioscientist eager to explore nature, he was amazed by how unspoiled Sanjiangyuan remained while urbanization swept across the rest of the country.

Sanjiangyuan’s lack of blemish owed to its isolation. Resting on a high-altitude plateau exceeding 3,000 meters (9,800 ft.) on average, the region is geographically unfriendly to city dwellers, who prefer taking less arduous tours of Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan Province or Lijiang, Yunnan Province. Culturally, Sanjiangyuan covers a vast area of about 140,000 square miles, comprising 43 percent of Qinghai Province, and is home to about 600,000 people, 90 percent of whom are Tibetan nomads who herd livestock and sleep in tents. While Sanjiangyuan has always been adored by nature lovers like Zhu, it was largely unknown to the population at large. Continue reading

Pollution inspection teams

Source: SCMP (9/16/17)
China to send over 100 pollution inspection teams to cities around Beijing
Experts will investigate sources of smog and advise local authorities on how to tackle the problem
By Mimi Lau

Premier Li Keqiang in March promised to spend “as much as it takes” to address the smog problem. Photo: AFP

China will send out over 100 environmental inspection teams to more than two dozen cities around Beijing as part of a new campaign to tackle the smog problem plaguing its northern region.

The Hebei provincial government also announced on its website on Friday that 1.8 million households would switch to natural gas from coal for fuel and heating in order to improve air quality.

The push to eradicate smog by tackling its source came after Premier Li Keqiang promised to spend “as much as it takes” in March to address the public health issue. Continue reading

Plastic China review

Source: China Film Insider (7/28/17)
Film Review: Plastic China
By Jonathan Landreth

Grade A+

There’s a strong temptation to suggest a matinee screening of director Wang Jiuliang’s stunning documentary Plastic China [塑料王国]. Its implications are so dark that viewers would do well to exit the theater into the daylight and thank their lucky stars that life is better for them than it appears to be for the family of migrant workers at the center of this brave film.

The film revolves around the lives of seven humans just scraping by at a stinking mom-and-pop factory sorting waste imported from the West for recycling. All the heaviness of hardscrabble poverty is there in stark, uncomfortable relief, and yet this un-narrated, stripped-down non-fiction testament to our environmental challenge is a must-see. Continue reading

Religious revival fuels environmental activism

Source: NYT (7/12/17)
China’s Religious Revival Fuels Environmental Activism

MAO MOUNTAIN, China — Far from the smog-belching power plants of nearby cities, on a hillside covered in solar panels and blossoming magnolias, Yang Shihua speaks of the need for a revolution.

Mr. Yang, the abbot of Mao Mountain, a sacred Taoist site in eastern China, has grown frustrated by indifference to a crippling pollution crisis that has left the land barren and the sky a haunting gray. So he has set out to spur action through religion, building a $17.7 million eco-friendly temple and citing 2,000-year-old texts to rail against waste and pollution.

“China doesn’t lack money — it lacks a reverence for the environment,” Abbot Yang said. “Our morals are in decline and our beliefs have been lost.”

Hundreds of millions of people in China have in recent years turned to religions like Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, seeking a sense of purpose and an escape from China’s consumerist culture.

Continue reading