International Development | Wilson Center

International Development

Urban Life in China's Brave New World

At a seminar organized by the Comparative Urban Studies Project, the China Environment Forum and the Asia Program on January 3, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a U.C. Irvine China specialist and urban historian, drew on material from his book China's Brave New World – And Other Tales for Global Times (Indiana University Press, 2007) to reflect on the dramatic way that Chinese cities have changed over the past two decades. Dr. Wasserstrom gave an overview of the book, highlighting the second chapter, "All the Coffee in China" which delves into themes missing from prevailing narratives on China.

China Grapples with Its Energy Challenges

China's economic expansion is delivering impressive benefits at home and around the world, even as it sharpens and multiplies energy-related challenges. While China relies mainly on domestically mined coal, it has become a major presence on world energy markets, attracting unaccustomed attention. Domestic environmental damages are mounting, exacerbating inequalities among regions and economic groups, and progress in bringing down energy efficiency has slowed, spurring vigorous new efforts to raise efficiency.

China's Green Olympics: A Lasting Impact?

When Beijing made its bid for the 2008 Olympics, its air quality was vying with Mexico City as the most polluted capital in the world. Beijing ultimately won the bid over Toronto and Paris due to the extensive plans to make the 2008 Olympic Games green.

Promoting a Green Voice in China: New Initiatives for Environmental Public Participation

Chinese citizens are increasingly taking to the streets to protest existing or potential environmental threats—such as toxic water, smoggy air, excessive noise, and dam building. China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) reported that 51,000 environmental disputes—some peaceful and some violent—occurred in 2005. The numbers of such disputes are most likely growing in number and size, strikingly illustrated by the nearly 20,000 urbanites who protested on June 1, 2007 in Xiamen (Fujian) against a planned chemical factory in the city's suburbs.

Greening the Courts: China's Legal Advocates Giving Voice to Pollution Victims and the Environment

The Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV), founded by Wang Canfa in 1998, is a Chinese nongovernmental organization (NGO) based in Beijing, but actively assisting in class action cases in almost every province. CLAPV is the only environmental litigation NGO in China, and its legal advocacy has successfully empowered pollution victims, providing an important check on Chinese industries that pollute indiscriminately. Since opening a public hotline for pollution victims in 1999, CLAPV has provided legal aid for 98 cases, 35 of these involved damages to human health.

Health and Environmental Challenges: China's Biggest Risks or Opportunities for Collaboration?

Environmental degradation and communicable disease, perhaps surprisingly, rank among China's top risks. China's successful economic reforms have, in great part, been built on environmental destruction and growing social inequalities. These inequalities have resulted in a failing rural health care system and have placed China at 187 out of 191 countries in a recent World Health Organization survey of health care inequality.

China Exim Bank in Africa

China Export-Import Bank

China's trade, investment and aid activities in Africa have been growing rapidly over the past decade. Chinese aid to Africa totaled $5.75 billion in 2006, and China the world's third largest food aid contributor. Trade between China and Africa has grown tenfold since 1999, reaching $56 billion in 2006. China's export credit and guarantee agencies—China Exim Bank in particular—have played an important role in fostering the rapid expansion of Chinese trade and investment in Africa.

Environmental Film Festival Screening: The Blood of Yingzhou District

For the eighth year in a row, the China Environment Forum hosted a screening of a film in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital. This year's film—The Blood of Yingzhou District—won best documentary short subject at the 2007 Academy Awards® for its portrayal of HIV/AIDS orphans in China.

Air Pollution and Environmental Health Threats in Southern China

Paralleling the booming economies in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) has been a growing air pollution problem that seriously threatens human health and the region's economy. Speaking at a 13 February 2007 CHINA ENVIRONMENT FORUM meeting, Christine Loh, founder of the Hong Kong think tank Civic Exchange, suggested that Hong Kong could lose its status as the economic hub of Asia if the city does not clean up its skies—a task that can only be accomplished in collaboration with Guangdong.

Urban Transport Development in China - Trends and Challenges

Although China's overall personal vehicle sales and ownership rates are low when compared to the United States, the roads in China's largest cities are already clogged with cars and their emissions are the leading source of urban pollution. The wave of car purchases increases monthly—one recent survey showed that 13 percent of urbanites in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangdong intend to buy a car within the next 12 months.

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