Can Xiao Li's parents afford to send her to school?
Corporate Social Responsibility | Labour and Migration | Livelihoods
The 1980s saw the greening of Western capitalism - or, at least, the attempt to internalise some of its external costs through tougher environmental standards, impact assessments, valuation techniques aimed at putting environmental goods on the accountants' balance sheets, and the introduction of market based instruments such as tradable emissions permits. At the same time, the golden phrase 'sustainable development' was on everyone's lips, with the tantalising implication that we could, after all, have our cake and eat it.
Environment | Health
Whilst China's health and education indicators are in general good compared to many developing countries, coverage of rural water and sanitation is far from universal and many 'improved' systems are in a poor state of repair and/or of low sanitary standards.
Law and Rights
What is 'the rule of law'? Although many definitions have been offered and contested, it is in Western usage generally conceived as a system and body of institutions whereby there is a clear process for framing laws to regulate social and economic and political life, which are widely disseminated (or at least not hidden from public view) and which, once enacted, are applied systematically and impartially. No one in such a system is 'above the law', not even the state. This does not necessarily imply democracy or political pluralism, but it does disqualify arbitrary government. The rule of law is frequently taken to imply separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers or, at least, judicial independence.
Disaster Prevention and Relief
Natural disasters are regular occurrences in China, but the floods of this summer were exceptional. Not just for their extent and severity; nor just because water was diverted to rural areas in order to protect cities; nor just because economic costs, including impact on production (now officially estimated at USD30 billion) may throw the economy off course from its 8% growth target for this year - but also because of notable changes in the organisation of the national response. New strategies and concerns are emerging among international donor agencies too.