Affluent Activists and New Tactics: The Changing Face of the Chinese Environmental Movement

Austin S Hauf

Abstract


This article will discuss a shift taking place within the Chinese environmental movement. The work of Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations, the established face of the movement, has been characterized by efforts to work within the constraints set by the government. The emergence of directly confrontational protests led by members of the middle class represents a shift in the movement as a whole. These protests have emerged as the result of the growing level of middle class environmental consciousness and the government’s inadequate response to environmental problems. This is reflected in citizens’ frustration over the lack of government transparency and public consultation. While protests can be perceived as a threat to the careful organization and methodical strategies of ENGOs, both have a role to play in the fight against China’s pollution and environmental degradation.


Keywords


China; Environmental Activism; NGOs

References


“Anatomy of a Protest: Kunming citizens voice concern over chemical plant.” East by Southeast Blog, May 6, 2013. Accessed November 25, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.eastbysoutheast.com/anatomy-of-a-protest-kunming-citizens-voice-concern-over-chemical-plant/#.

Ansfield, Jonathan. “Alchemy of a Protest: the case of Xiamen PX.” In China and the Environment, edited by Sam Geall, 136-202. New York: Zed Books, 2013.

Beach, Sophie. “Ningbo Protests Point to Middle Class Discontent.” China Digital Times, October 29, 2012. Accessed October 24, 2013. http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/10/following-ningbo-protest-skepticism-of-government-remains.

—. “Chinese Nonprofits Survive and Thrive.” China Digital Times, June 19, 2013. Accessed October 23, 2013. http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/06/chinese-nonprofits-survive-and-thrive.

Branigan, Tania. “Anti-pollution protesters halt construction of copper plant in China.” The Guardian, July 3, 2012. Accessed November 24, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/03/china-anti-pollution-protest-copper.

Cooper, Caroline M. “‘This is Our Way In’: The Civil Society of Environmental NGOs in South-West China.” Government and Opposition 41 (2006): 109-136.

Economy, Elizabeth C. The River Runs Black. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.

“Environmental Concerns on the Rise in China.” Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, September 19, 2013. Accessed December 30, 2013. http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/09/19/environmental-concerns-on-the-rise-in-china.

Feng, Jie, and Tao Wang. “Officials struggling to respond to China’s year of environment protests.” chinadialogue.net, June 12, 2012. Accessed November 16, 2013. https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/5438-Officials-struggling-to-respond-to-China-s-year-of environment-protests.

Ho, Peter. "Greening Without Conflict? Environmentalism, NGOs and Civil Society in China." Development & Change 32 (2001): 893-921.

Ho, Peter, and Richard Louis Edmonds. "Perspectives of Time and Change: Rethinking Embedded Environmental Activism in China." China Information 21 (2007): 331-344.

Larson, Christina. “Protests in China Get a Boost From Social Media.” Bloomberg Businessweek, October 29, 2012. Accessed November 13, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-29/protests-in-china-get-a-boost-from-social-media.

Ling, Bonny, Wing Lam, Elisabeth Wickeri, and Tina Tan. “China’s Civil Society: Controls, Limits and Role in a ‘Harmonious Society.’” China Perspectives 3 (2007): 118–125.

Mertha, Andrew. “‘Fragmented Authoritarianism 2.0’: Political Pluralization in the Chinese Policy Process.” The China Quarterly 200 (2009): 995-1012.

Moore, Malcolm. “China’s middle-class rise up in environmental protest.” The Telegraph, November 23, 2009. Accessed November 11, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/6636631/Chinas-middle-class-rise-up-in-environmental-protest.html.

Pomfret, James. “Hundreds in south China oppose waste incinerator.” Reuters, November 23, 2009. Accessed November 20, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/11/23/us-china-environment-incinerator-idUSTRE5AM0JS20091123.

“Protest in China at chemical plant plans for Kunming.” BBC News, May 4, 2013. Accessed November 13, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22411012.

“Protests help clear the air (4).” People’s Daily Online, August 4, 2009. Accessed November 18, 2013. http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/6717761.html.

Ru, Jiang, and Leonard Ortolano. “Development of Citizen-Organized Environmental NGOs in China.” VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 20 (2009): 141–168.

Schwartz, Jonathan. "Environmental NGOs in China: roles and limits." Pacific Affairs 77 (2004): 28-49.

Shapiro, Judith. China’s Environmental Challenges. Malden: Polity Press, 2012.

Spires, Anthony J. “Contingent Symbiosis and Civil Society in an Authoritarian State: Understanding the Survival of China’s Grassroots NGOs.” American Journal of Sociology 117 (2011): 1–45.

Sullivan, Jonathan, and Lei Xie. “Environmental Activism, Social Networks and the Internet.” The China Quarterly 198 (2009): 422–432.

“Survey: Govt needs to focus more on environment.” China Daily, May 8, 2013. Accessed November 26, 2013. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/201305/08/content_16486101.htm.

Tang, Shui-Yan, and Xueyong Zhan. “Civic Environmental NGOs, Civil Society, and Democratisation in China.” Journal of Development Studies 44 (2008): 425–448.

Teets, Jessica C. “Let Many Civil Societies Bloom: The Rise of Consultative Authoritarianism in China.” The China Quarterly 213 (2013): 19–38.

“Unstoppable: Kunming’s environmental protest movement takes a powerful turn.” East by Southeast Blog, May 17, 2013. Accessed November 25, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.eastbysoutheast.com/unstoppable-kunmings-environmental-protest-movement-takes-a-powerful-turn.

Van Rooij, Benjamin. “The People vs. Pollution: understanding citizen action against pollution in China.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (2010): 55–77.

Wade, Samuel. “China Says Will Shut Plant as Thousands Protest.” China Digital Times, August 14, 2011. Accessed November 23, 2013. http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2011/08/thousands-protest-against-dalian-chemical-plant.

Watts, Jonathan. “Chinese protesters confront police over incinerator plans in Guangzhou.” The Guardian, November 23, 2009. Accessed November 23, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/nov/23/china-protest-incinerator-guangzhou.

—. “China orders petrochemical plant shutdown after protests.” The Guardian, August 14, 2011. Accessed November 24, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/aug/14/china-petrochemical-plant-shutdown-protest.

Wee, Sui-Lee. “China says will shut plant as thousands protest.” Reuters, August 14, 2011. Accessed November 23, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/14/us-china-protests-idUSTRE77D0EK20110814.

Wee, Sui-Lee and Ben Blanchard. “China city scraps alloy plant after protests.” Reuters, July 3, 2012. Accessed November 24, 2013. Found through China Digital Times. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/us-china-pollution-protest-idUSBRE86205C20120703.

Weiya, Huo. “Environmental groups at a crossroads.” chinadialogue.net, December 18, 2012. Accessed November 6, 2013. https://www.chinadialogue.net/books/5477-Environmental-groups-at-a-crossroads/en.

Yang, Guobin. "Environmental NGOs and institutional dynamics in China." The China Quarterly 181 (2005): 46-66.

—. “Brokering Environment and Health in China: issue entrepreneurs of the public sphere.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (2010): 101118.

Yang, Guobin, and Craig Calhoun. "Media, civil society, and the rise of a green public sphere in China." China Information 21 (2007): 211-236.


Full Text: PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.