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Environmental Politics in China: An Issue Area in Review

Abstract

This article takes a thematic approach to review the existing literature (in both Chinese and English) of environmental politics in the broad context of China studies. Examined themes include state and environmental governance, public awareness and environmental social activism, and environmental foreign relations. Findings and arguments are assessed with two important questions in mind: What differentiates the environmental arena from Chinese politics in general? What new insights into Chinese politics can be gained from case studies of environmental protection? Scholarship on environmental politics contributes not only empirical findings, but also critical challenges to the conventional knowledge and frameworks of Chinese politics.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The statistics do not include articles that deal with environmental politics exclusively in Hong Kong or Taiwan.

  2. 2.

    “Ministry will give more weight to green issues,” China Daily, 13 March 2008.

  3. 3.

    Official statement at http://www.cciced.org. Accessed 10 March 2009.

  4. 4.

    The LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in the early 1990s.

  5. 5.

    Official website http://www.chinaceap.org. Accessed 10 March 2009.

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Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the following scholars who have shared their valuable reflections on the field of environmental politics in China (names in alphabetic order): Elizabeth Economy, Peter Ho, Jianguo Liu, Andrew Mertha, Leonard Ortolano, Vaclav Smil, Benjamin van Rooij, and Hongyuan Yu. All errors in the article, nevertheless, remain solely as the author’s. Graduate students Xinlei Li (Shangdong University) and Juan Chu (Chinese University of Hong Kong) provided fine and necessary research assistance.

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Correspondence to Fengshi Wu.

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Wu, F. Environmental Politics in China: An Issue Area in Review. J OF CHIN POLIT SCI 14, 383–406 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11366-009-9072-8

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Keywords

  • Environmental Politics
  • Chinese Politics
  • Environmental Governance
  • Environmental Movement
  • Environmental Foreign Relations