China Environment | Wilson Center

China Environment

Ma Jun: Finding Solutions for China’s Environmental Problems

Ma Jun, a Global Fellow with the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum from September 2013 to December 2017, is a Director at the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), an environmental NGO focused on promoting transparency in China’s pollution issues. IPE developed the China Water Pollution Map, the first public database of water pollution information in China. From 1993 to 2000, Ma worked as an investigative journalist at the South China Morning Post. His work centered on environmental subjects and he eventually became the Chief Representative of in Beijing.

New Wave of Partnerships to Protect China’s Rivers

China’s rivers are in crisis. Less than 20 years ago, the country boasted 50,000 rivers, but now China has lost more than half due to over-extraction, climate change, and contamination. Many sections of the Yangtze, China’s largest river basin, have become foul and black as nearly 45% of the country’s sewage and industrial discharge flow into it.  To protect the country’s rivers and lakes, the Chinese government issued the Water Pollution Action Plan in 2015, creating more comprehensive and stricter regulations for water conservation and larger penalties for polluters.

Working Towards Clean Cars and Clear Skies in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta

Los Angeles is the quintessential horizontal city, the capital of sprawl where car-centric urban development has given the city the reputation as the most polluted urban environment in the United States. Contrast this with Hong Kong, a vertical city that is leading the way in efficient public transit with a system capable of transporting 90 percent of the city’s citizens, the highest percentage in the world.

China as a Great Polar Power

China has emerged as a member of the elite club of nations who are powerful at both global poles. Polar states are global giants, strong in military, scientific, and economic terms. The concept of a polar great power is relatively unknown in international relations studies; yet China, a rising power globally, is now widely using this term to categorize its aspirations and emphasize the significance of the polar regions to their national interests. China's focus on becoming a polar great power represents a fundamental re-orientation - a completely new way of imagining the world.