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Towards a Green China? Government Policies and Citizen Engagement

Poster for a greener China
This one-day workshop addresses environmental issues, debates and policies in China.

China is today facing many and increasingly severe environmental problems due to rapid growth and weak law enforcement. Beijing has for example in recent years become infamous for severe smog that causes much anxiety among citizens. Pollution is threatening both economic growth and human lives in the country. Showing the seriousness of the issue, the Chinese government declared a “war on pollution” last year, and outlined an array of targets, policies, and campaigns. During the past years we have also seen a growing environmental awareness among individual citizens, including protests targeting polluting factories.

The workshop will address both central policies and initiatives by local governments in cities such as Hangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin. It will also discuss citizens' environmental engagement and protests related to the environment. The workshop brings together scholars active in the Nordic Council sponsored Sino-Nordic Urban Governance for Sustainable Cities Network (Ugnet ) and other scholars working in the field.

The workshop is held at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, room Alfa 1010, and is open to the public.


9.15-9.30 Welcome and introduction

Policies and models for a Green China: State and local governments’ initiatives
9.30-10.00 Governing by Example - Do Environmental Model Cities Promote Stricter Legal Compliance? Stefan Brehm, Lund University

10.00-10.30 Climate Politics and Governance Innovations in China – The Case of Hangzhou, Jørgen Delman, Copenhagen University

10.30-10.45 Coffee break

10.45-11.15 Initiating Ecological Governance in Tianjin, Outi Luova, Turku University

11.15-12.00 Discussion

Lunch break

Engaging with the environment: Citizen awareness and protests
13.15-13.45 Urban Governance and Social Accountability: Environmental and Social Protests in a Chinese City, Oscar Almén and Mattias Burell, Uppsala University

13.45-14.15 The Dynamics of Framing on Weibo: A Case Study of Anti-nuclear Protest in Guangdong China, Huang Ronggui, Fudan University

14.15-14.45 Low Carbon Initiatives and Community Engagement - Case Studies in Shanghai, Erin Kennedy, Lund University

14.45-15.15 Discussion

15.15-15.30 Coffee break

15.30-16.00 Making Environmental Issues Visible: The Role of Media, the Internet and Documentary Film, Marina Svensson, Lund University

16.00-17.30 Screening of the documentary film Waking the Green Tiger (78 minutes)


Film synopsis

Seen through the eyes of activists, farmers, and journalists, Waking the Green Tiger follows an extraordinary grassroots campaign to stop a huge dam project on the upper Yangtze River in southwest China. An environmental movement arises when a new law is passed which gives ordinary citizens the democratic right to speak out and take part in government decisions. The activists set out to test their freedom and save a river. The film includes footage shot over a six-year period by one of China’s first environmental filmmakers, Shi Lihong. She and her husband Xi Zhinong are famous for an early environmental film about China’s endangered golden monkeys. Shi Lihong then shot and directed a revealing film about the fate of a farming community that was moved to make way for a dam. The Waking the Green Tiger shows how her documentary was used by farmers to organize resistance to a massive dam project at Tiger Leaping Gorge. For further information about the film see

3 March 2015 09:15 to 17:30
Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Scheelevägen 15, Room Alfa 1010
marina.svensson [at]

About the event

3 March 2015 09:15 to 17:30
Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Scheelevägen 15, Room Alfa 1010
marina.svensson [at]

Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies
Lund University
Sölvegatan 18 B, 223 62 Lund

Phone: +46 46 222 38 61
E-mail: info [at] ace [dot] lu [dot] se