Chinese Environmental Humanities

Hello, I am pleased to announce that the first Chinese Environmental Humanities anthology is finally out. I’d appreciate if you can recommend it to your librarian to purchase this book.

Here I’d like to thank all the scholars involved in this project: Profs. Joni Adamson, Scott Slovic, Kiu-wai Chu, Haomin Gong, Xinmin Liu, Dong Isbister, Ralph Litzinger, Jeffrey Nicolaissen, Xiumei Pu, Steve Roddy, Steve Rachman, Darryl Sterk, Christopher K Tong, Fan Yang, Winnie Yee, Runlei Zhai, 釋昭慧. Thanks for being part of this CEH family, it’s such an honor to work with all of you!

I also want to express my gratitude to the following scholars: Patrick D. Murphy, Masami Yuki, Serpil Oppermann, Karen L. Thornber, Sheldon Lu. Thank you for being part of the family as well. Finally, I am indebted to the editor-in-chief of Chinese Literature and Culture in the World Series (Palgrave), Ban Wang, for the invitation. It’s been a wonderful journey working with you and the Palgrave crew. Continue reading

Mao’s beach

Source: NYT (8/22/19)
At Mao’s Beach, China’s Leaders Still Make History as Lifeguards Hide From the Sun
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Jane Perlez

Enjoying the waters at the beach in Beidaihe, China, in August. Credit: Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

BEIDAIHE, China — Most summers, the founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong, made big and fateful decisions at a funky stretch of beach a few hundred miles east of the nation’s sweltering capital. He swam in weather fair or foul. He sat cross-legged in the sand, dressed only in black trunks, his portly belly exposed for all to see.

His successors have not been such fearless swimmers, nor such show-offs.

But they still like to come each August to Beidaihe, a mix of shabby coastal resort with high-end villas behind tall fences.

In keeping with the hierarchical character of Chinese socialism, the top officials never rub shoulders with the public. Three distinct categories of visitors exist side by side, separated by earpiece-wearing security forces — and walls. Continue reading

Environmental Activism, Social Media and Protest

I am writing to announce the debut of my book, Environmental Activism, Social Media, and Protest in China: Becoming Activists Over Wild Public Networks. The manuscript takes a close look at environmental protests and the ways in which activists deploy social media to organize outrage and demand change in China, an authoritarian country affected by censorship, surveillance, and state-controlled media. Specifically, I examine anti-PX protests in Xiamen in 2007, Dalian in 2011, and Maoming in 2014.

Blending media, social movement, affect, and network theories, I propose the concept of wild public networks, which supplant the Habermasian public sphere with a dynamic understanding of contemporary argument in a densely panmediated environment awash with images, video, gifs, and creative inventions meant to sidestep censors. I also introduce and advance the concept of force majeure as a way of understanding protests and the various and multiple repercussions they have over time and across space outside of their instrumental success or failure.

Environmental Activism, Social Media, and Protest in China: Becoming Activists Over Wild Public Networks is available through Lexington Books and those that use the discount code LEX30AUTH19 can receive 30% off the list price.

Elizabeth Brunner  <betsyabrunner@gmail.com>

Three Gorges Dam back in the spotlight

Source: China Media Project (7/7/19)
THREE GORGES DAM BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT
by 

Three Gorges Dam Back in the Spotlight

(Featured image by Michael Gwyther-Jones available at Flickr.com under Creative Commons license.)

The Three Gorges Project, the gravity dam and hydroelectric power station on the Yangtze River that is currently the world’s largest power station, is back in the news in China. And state-run media are pushing to reassure the public that the dam is safe. So why is this becoming an issue now?

In recent days, posts on social media have suggested satellite imagery of the mega-structure now shows that it is warping, calling into question its structural integrity. Other posts have reported so far unsubstantiated claims that authorities have halted tours to the area. Continue reading

Literature in the Age of the Anthropocene

Gwennaël Gaffric, La Littérature à l’ère de l’Anthropocène. Une étude écocritique autour des œuvres de l’écrivain taïwanais Wu Ming-yi [Literature at the Age of Anthropocene: An Ecocritical Reading of Wu Ming-yi’s Works]
Foreword by Stéphane Corcuff
Asiathèque, Collection « Études formosanes »

Editor’s presentation:

Taking an ecocritical approach, Gwennaël Gaffric discusses in this book the literary treatment of ecological issues in Taiwan and beyond. He focuses his study on the works by Wu Ming-yi, a major figure in Taiwanese literary, artistic and militant scenes, but he seeks to expand his presentation by putting in perspective and dialogue texts from other contemporary Taiwanese authors, as well as reflections proposed by thinkers from several disciplines and all geographical horizons. He achieves an impressive synthesis, where ecology becomes an ontology of the relationship between humans and non-humans and an epistemological path to think the Anthropocene. Continue reading

China’s export of coal power imperials climate goals

Source: Japan Times (12/6/18)
China’s unbridled export of coal power seen as imperiling climate goals
AFP-JIJI

China’s unbridled export of coal power seen as imperiling climate goals

Workers sort coal on a conveyer belt near a mine in Datong, in China’s northern Shanxi province, on Nov. 20, 2015. | AFP-JIJI

Even as China struggles to curb domestic coal-fired power and the deadly pollution it produces, the world’s top carbon emitter is aggressively exporting the same troubled technology to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, an investigation by AFP has shown.

The carbon dioxide emissions from these Chinese-backed plants could cripple global efforts to rein in global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels — especially coal — analysts warn.

“China is a world leader in terms of embracing the policy and investment needs to progressively decarbonize its economy,” said Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). Continue reading

Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age–cfp reminder

Reminder: Applications for the 2019 Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age close on Monday 8 October

This is a friendly reminder that the China Studies Centre’s 2019 Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age will close for applications on Monday 8 October 2018. The workshop will be devoted to “China’s Environmental Challenge and Eco-civilisation: a multidisciplinary approach to the Anthropocene”.

There is no enrollment fee for the graduate workshop. Participants will receive free accommodation. A number of scholarships will be available to help cover the cost of transport to Sydney (up to AUD 1500), relative to country of residence.

Please share this opportunity across your networks

Wen Chen <wen.chen@sydney.edu.au>


Call for Applications: 2019 Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age

The University of Sydney is organising the inaugural graduate workshop of the China Studies Centre’s recently launched multidisciplinary research program on China in the Urban Age. It will be devoted to “China’s Environmental Challenge and Eco-civilisation: a multidisciplinary approach to the Anthropocene”. The deadline for applications is 8 October. Continue reading

Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age 2019–call

China’s environmental challenge and eco-civilisation: a multidisciplinary approach to the Anthropocene 

Call for Applications: The 2019 Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age

The University of Sydney is organising the inaugural graduate workshop of the China Studies Centre’s recently launched multidisciplinary research program on China in the Urban Age. It will be devoted to “China’s Environmental Challenge and Eco-civilisation: a multidisciplinary approach to the Anthropocene”, and held in Sydney between 14-18 January 2019. The deadline for applications is 8 October. This is an initiative of the China Studies Centre and the Planetary Health Platform at the University of Sydney. Continue reading

Ministry doubles air quality rankings

Source: Caixin (7/24/18)
Ecology Ministry More Than Doubles Number of Cities in Air Quality Ranking
By Li Rongde

Clear skies greet tourists visiting the Summer Palace in Beijing on June 27. Photo: VCG

Clear skies greet tourists visiting the Summer Palace in Beijing on June 27. Photo: VCG

China’s environmental watchdog has more than doubled the number of cities in its monthly air quality ranking in a bid to pressure authorities to clean up pollution in their respective areas.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said Monday that it will now rate air quality in 169 Chinese cities each month, up from the previous total of 74. It will also highlight the 20 cities with the cleanest air and the 20 cities with the worst air pollution every month, up from the 10 best and worst it published before, the ministry said. Continue reading

Environmental whistleblower gets prison sentence

Source: Sixth Tone (7/12/18)
Environmental Whistleblower Gets Prison Sentence
Chinese authorities confirmed industrial waste dumping in Henan, yet the man who reported it has been convicted of damaging the polluters’ reputations.
By Fan Liya

Photographer’s Choice/VCG

A whistleblower has been sentenced to 17 months in prison for “disturbing market order” after reporting industrial pollution in central China’s Henan province — even though provincial environmental protection authorities have confirmed that his accusations were true.

Zhang Wenqi was sentenced by the court of Wuzhi County on Monday on charges of fabricating facts and causing financial losses to three companies in the province, The Beijing News reported Tuesday. The public prosecutor brought forward the criminal case after the two paper companies and a technology company complained that Zhang’s allegations had damaged their business reputations and caused substantial losses. Continue reading

Guizhou poverty alleviation program

Source: Sixth Tone (7/10/18)
Guizhou pilots carbon offset poverty alleviation program
Government-driven platform encourages people to pay low-income households to plant trees
By Li You

An elderly farmer in Shenyang, Liaoning province, July 15, 2011. VCG

GUIZHOU, Southwest China — Policymakers are hoping to kill two birds with one stone through a tree-planting program that endeavors to trap carbon emissions and combat poverty.

Announced Sunday at the 10th Eco Forum Global in provincial capital Guiyang, the voluntary program connects residents of Guizhou province’s low-income villages with individuals and businesses across the country who are willing to pay to offset their own carbon footprint. Villagers plant the trees and pocket the money — expected to reach more than 1,000 yuan ($150) a year per household, in a province where the average annual income for rural residents is only 8,869 yuan. Continue reading

Surge in China carbon emissions

Source: Unearthed (5/30/18)
Dramatic surge in China carbon emissions signals climate danger
With China’s CO2 pollution on the rise, is it time to panic?
By Zach Boren and Harri Lammi

The continued rise of China’s CO2 emissions is unexpected. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China’s carbon emissions growth has accelerated since the beginning of the year, leading to warnings that the country could be headed for its largest annual increase in climate pollution since 2011.

Led by increased demand for coal, oil and gas, China’s CO2 emissions for the first three months of 2018 were 4% higher than they were for the same period in 2017, according to an Unearthed analysis of new government figures.

Analysts have suggested the country’s carbon emissions could rise this year by 5% — the largest annual increase in seven years, back when the airpocalypse was at its peak. Continue reading

China blocks earthquake memorial service (1)

One can compare what Charlene Makley wrote about the statist ‘spectacle of compassion’ and how Tibetan buddhists’ contributions were curtailed and obscured after the earthquake:

Charlene Makley (2014). “Spectacular Compassion: ‘Natural’ Disasters And National Mourning In China’s Tibet.” Critical Asian Studies, 46:3, 371-404, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2014.935132

Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

China blocks earthquake memorial service

Source: NYT (5/12/18)
China Blocks a Memorial Service to Sichuan Earthquake Victims
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版
By Chris Buckley

Attendees on Saturday marked a minute of silence in front of the former Xuankou Middle School, destroyed in the 2008 earthquake.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

BEIJING — On the 10th anniversary of China’s deadliest earthquake in decades, the police on Saturday detained an outspoken pastor and blocked a planned service to mourn the 70,000 or more people killed when whole towns and villagers were crushed.

The anniversary of the earthquake, which rippled across Sichuan Province in southwest China on May 12, 2008, has been a time of renewed mourning for survivors, while the ruling Communist Party has used the date to praise China’s reconstruction of devastated areas. Continue reading

After-shocks of the 2008 earthquake

Source: NY Review of Books (May 9, 2018)
After-Shocks of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake
By Ian Johnson

Ruins from one of the most significant earthquakes in Chinese history, pictured a month before the tenth anniversary of the earthquake, Beichuan county, Mianyang, Sichuan, China, April 5, 2018. VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The province of Sichuan is a microcosm of China. Its east is flat, prosperous, and densely settled by ethnic Chinese. Its mountainous west is populated by poorer minorities, but possesses resources that help make the east rich.

In Sichuan, the highlands’ bounty is water and silt, which rush down from the Tibetan Plateau to the plains below through an ingenious set of irrigation waterworks at the town of Dujiangyan. Soon after this system was built, some 2,300 years ago, the intensive agriculture that it made possible turned the region into one of China’s economic dynamos, producing so much wealth that it helped the first emperor of China consolidate numerous fragmented states into one powerful realm. Continue reading