Features | Environment | Ethnic Minorities | Livelihoods
It is a decade since mass tourism arrived in the picturesque northwest Yunnan towns of Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian. But what of the villages and townships that some more adventurous tourists are beginning to visit? Julie Perng visits four communities that hope to embrace tourists without being overwhelmed by them.
In 2006, total receipts from tourism in Yunnan Province reached CNY 49.97 billion (USD 6.2 billion), almost 90% of which came from Chinese tourists. Receipts were up 16.7% on the previous year, and accounted for 12.5% of the provincial GDP. The tourism industry is clearly flourishing in one of China’s most ethnically, geographically, and biologically diverse provinces.
Environment | Livelihoods
Grassland conservation and development cannot be separated from pastoralist culture and people, but decision-makers have ignored this over the past decades, academic experts and environmentalists say.
Some have started initiatives to bring people involved in grassland issues together for better policy-making and research.
At the 16th International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Conference to be held in Kunming in July 2008, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) will host a parallel meeting to discuss the grassland environment and changes in herders’ lives.
China in the World | Environment
Consumers around the world, especially in developed countries, share responsibility for China’s growing ecological impact overseas, argues the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in a new report.
Civil Society | Environment | Governance and Social Policy
The European Union has deepened its collaboration with the United Nations Development Program in China with an EUR 8.08 million (USD 10.5 million) contribution to a UNDP-managed “Governance for Equitable Development” program, while funds from an earlier EU-UNDP agreement are now beginning to flow to consortia of international NGO and local government agencies partnering on biodiversity conservation projects.
Around 40% of the governance program funds will be devoted to civil society support projects implemented through the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), according to Edward Wu (吴晓晖), UNDP’s Team Leader in Beijing for Rule of Law and Democracy.
Editorial | Civil Society | Environment | Subscription-only Content
A paper published last year in The China Quarterly concludes, on the basis of interviews with Chinese university students, that “There is little likelihood of environmentalism among students transforming into an independent grassroots movement or becoming a source of pressure for political change.” The most revealing aspect of this study is not the finding but the fact that the researchers chose to pursue such a line of enquiry.
Why are watchers of China’s civil society so preoccupied with looking for signs of nascent, oppositional movements? The prevailing paradigm for social and political change, it seems, sees a necessary role at some point for barricades (or, at least, a “non-violent” variant.) Such a view is not only anathema to the Chinese authorities, inviting the kind of heightened security surveillance that we have seen over the last 18 months, it also implicitly discards—as naïvely idealistic, no doubt—the hope that rational debate and enlightened self-interest may deliver meaningful progress. Yet in a world that is melting at the seams that may be our best hope.
Civil Society | Environment | Subscription-only Content
Less vocal and publicity-seeking than their Western counterparts, Japanese environmental NGOs have nonetheless achieved a substantial presence in China, reports Robert Efird
Japan and China have been described as “neighbors separated by a mere strip of water,” an expression that emphasizes both the physical proximity of the two nations as well as their extensive and longstanding cultural affinities. These historical and cultural connections help to explain why more Japanese NGOs are engaged in exchange with China than with any other country, while the shared geography is one reason why so much Japanese NGO activity in China is focused on the environment. Yet the activities of Japanese environmental organizations in China remain largely unknown to both non-Japanese NGOs and the Chinese public. This is unfortunate, for though often small in scale and constrained by uncertain funding and scarce institutional support, a number of these NGOs have nevertheless established strong, successful relationships with Chinese counterparts and made significant contributions to Chinese social welfare and environmental protection.
Civil Society | Environment
While the adverse impacts of industrial production and pollution are receiving ever more public attention in China, new government and NGO initiatives are also emphasising the difference that consumers, including government agencies, can make to the local and global environment.
Despite China’s impressive progress in improving living conditions, the country and its people face huge challenges in securing a sustainable supply of clean water, according to UNDP’s Human Development Report for 2006.
Civil Society | Environment
Organisations and individuals concerned about water pollution now have a powerful online tool to learn about the water quality of rivers and lakes in their vicinity and to know the sources of pollutants.
China has pledged to protect an area of nearly 1.6 million hectares area in Minshan (岷山), home to half of the world’s wild panda population, with new conservation areas planned and a logging ban to remain in place until 2010.