China’s environmental challenges: Overfishing, toxic soil, and unbreathable air


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Lucy Hornby of the Financial Times and Li Shuo of Greenpeace discuss their research and reporting on China’s environmental woes.

Lucy Hornby is a China correspondent for the Financial Times. She has previously been on Sinica to speak about China’s last surviving comfort women and about women’s representation in China expertise.

Li Shuo is the Senior Climate & Energy Policy Officer for Greenpeace East Asia. He oversees Greenpeace’s work on air pollution, water, and renewable energy, and also coordinates the organization’s engagement with the United Nations climate negotiation.

Lucy returns to the podcast to discuss her reporting on Chinese environmental challenges — particularly overfishing and soil pollution — issues that Li Shuo, on the pod for the first time, has also researched.


Jeremy: “The Anaconda and the Elephant,” an essay by Xu Zhiyuan 许知远 about self-censorship and how to be a Chinese writer in these strange times under Xi Jinping.

Lucy: The latest book of her FT colleague Richard McGregor: Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century. McGregor previously wrote The Party, a popular book among those wanting an in-depth look at Chinese politics.

Li Shuo: A Chinese book called huanjing waijiaoguan shouji (环境外交官手记; “Notes of an Environmental Diplomat”), an autobiography of one of China’s early environmental diplomats, Xia Kunbao 夏堃堡. He was born in the 1940s, learned English, lived through the Cultural Revolution, and ended up at the highest levels of environmental governance in China. The book is written in fairly simple, short sentences.

Kaiser: Washington Post reporter David Weigel’s new book, The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock.