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Green Developments in China

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Since ancient times in China there has been a unity of nature and humanity. Having respect for nature, protecting nature, and conforming to the laws of nature have long been mainstream elements of traditional Chinese culture. However, the agricultural civilization of China is actually dependent on the weather. With China’s expanding population, the ecological deficit in traditional agricultural production has increased. In this regard, the recent forest deficit has been the greatest in the 5000-year history of Chinese civilization. China has gone from being a richly forested nation to a poorly forested nation, with the level of forestation dropping to 8 % in 1948, the lowest in the nation’s history.


  • Chemical Oxygen Demand
  • Ecological Environment
  • Carbon Dioxide Emission
  • Ming Dynasty
  • Green Development

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  1. 1.

    Mao Zedong: Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Selected Works of Mao Zedong, volume IV, page 1439, People’s Publishing House, 1991.

  2. 2.

    Research Center for Contemporary China, Tsinghua University, Hu An-gang, Wang Yahua: National Conditions and Development, page 187, Beijing, Tsinghua University Publishing House, 2005.

  3. 3.

    Mitchell, Stephen, ‘Chapter 34’ Tao Te Ching, HarperCollins, 2009.

  4. 4.

    According to historical records, the year 1153, the Taihu Tian Wei shore up to 145 years, Wai Tian up to 1489. Yangtze River Water Resources Planning Office: “A Brief History of the Yangtze River Water Resources”, Water Publishing, 114.

  5. 5.

    State Statistical Bureau, China Statistical Yearbook (1981), Beijing: China Statistics Press, 1982, page 20, 206.

  6. 6.

    In the Great Leap Forward in 1958, China built over 0.6 million primitive iron-smelting and steel-making furnaces, more than 59,000 of small furnaces, over 4000 of small power plants, over 9000 of small cement plants, over 80,000 farm tools built factories. Industrial enterprises soared from 170,000 in 1957 to over 0.6 million in 1959. China’s environmental protection administration in two decades, China Environmental Science Press, 1994, page 4.

  7. 7.

    The industrial resources output value included in the statistics refers to the sum of the metallurgical industry, power industry, coal and coking industry, petroleum industry, chemical industry, building materials industry, and forest industry.

  8. 8.

    This is the author’s calculation using data come from the Industrial and Transportation Statistics Division of the National Bureau of Statistics, Compilation for 50 Years of Industrial and Transportation Energy Statistics 19491999, page 56 and 57, Beijing, China Statistics Press, 2000.

  9. 9.

    Li Qi: Days with Zhou En’lai, Central Literature Publishing House, 1998, page 332.

  10. 10.

    Hu An-gang, Wang Yi, Niu Wenyuan: Ecological Deficit, the Biggest Crisis of the Chinese Nationality to Survive in the 21st Century, August 1989, Technology Review, Phase II and Phase III in 1990.

  11. 11.

    On July 4, 1994, the State Council approved The White Paper on Chinese Population, Environment and Development in the 21st Century; on September 28, 1995 the 14th Fifth Plenary Session of the CPC proposed The Suggestion on Formulation of the Ninth Five-Year Plan and 2010 Vision Goal, which formally put forward the strategy of sustainable development and clearly stated that by the end of the twenty-first century, it would strive to control environmental pollution and ecological environment destruction trends as well as improving the environmental quality in some cities and regions; in 2010, it would fundamentally change the deterioration of the ecological environment and make obvious improvements in urban and rural areas.

  12. 12.

    Jiang Zemin: Protect the Environment, the Implementation of Sustainable Development Strategy, July 1996. Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, vol 1, page 532, People’s Publishing House, 2006.

  13. 13.

    Jiang Zemin: Hold High the Great Banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an All-round Advancement of the Cause of Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics (September 12, 1997), the Chinese Communist Party Literature Research Center: Selected Important Documents Since the 15th National Congress of the CPC, volume 1, page 28, Beijing, People’s Publishing House, 2001.

  14. 14.

    The Information Office of the State Council held the conference of China’s forest resources and other aspects on November 17, 2009.

  15. 15.

    The data are from 2009 World Development Indicators of the World Bank.

  16. 16.

    The world’s forest resource assessment data show that China’s annual rate of change in forest area was 1.87 % in 2000–2005 and 1.39 % in 2005–2010, which ranked its growth rate 10th in the world; it ranked seventh among the fewer than 30 developing countries that had a positive growth rate.

  17. 17.

    The world’s major nine countries are the five permanent members of the United Nations plus Japan and other the three BRIC nations.

  18. 18.

    General Secretary Hu Jintao’s speech at national meeting about earthquake relief on October 8, 2008.

  19. 19.

    Refer to Chap. 5 of this book.

  20. 20.

    This estimate is relatively conservative; the Chinese Academy of Sciences predicts that China non-fossil energy ratio will attain 20 % in 2020 and 34 % in 2030. See the Chinese Academy of Sciences: Technological Revolution and Chinese Modernization, page 46, Science Press, 2009.

  21. 21.

    Countries around the world have formulated development plans and objectives for clean energy (non-fossil energy) by 2020. Among these, Germany sets the highest targets for increasing its clean energy proportion in the entire energy at 30 % by 2020; this is followed by those of the EU as a whole and the United States, which both set targets of 20 %. However, in practice, those targets may be very difficult to achieve.

  22. 22.

    Low-carbon technology refers to a reduction or elimination of carbon dioxide emissions based on clean and efficient use of energy and resources, including new energy, energy-saving and reduction, and carbon-capture and sequestration technologies.

  23. 23.

    The national key ecological function areas include 25 regions, such as the Da and Xiao Xing’anling forest ecological function areas, with a total area of about 3.86 million km2; these account for 40.2 % of the national land area; at the end of 2008, total population the in these areas was about 1.1 million, which accounted for 8.5 % of total national population.

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Correspondence to Angang Hu .

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Hu, A. (2017). Green Developments in China. In: China: Innovative Green Development. Springer, Singapore.

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