Environmental news reports in China

Authored by: Ji Li

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138478503
eBook ISBN: 9781351068406
Adobe ISBN:


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The writer of this chapter notes that as of 2006, there were a total of 423 central and local environmental publications in China. Television stations and websites carry environmental programs. Online news organizations include China Environmental News Network, the Environmental Protection Channel of the People’s Website, and the Green Channel of Tencent. “The concept of “environmental protection” was not familiar to most Chinese people before 1970. … At that time, China was under the control of the ultra-left. People were told that the environmental pollution in the West was incurable. They did not know that China was undergoing environmental damage as well.” In the 1970s and 1980s the Chinese government’s position towards industrial pollution changed. The Chinese government began to formulate environmental policy and promote environmental protection. “The mainstream media, which is primarily operated by the Chinese government, took the lead in environmental publicity.” Environmental news was formally incorporated into the media agenda. Through the 1990s, “the development of environmental news was dependent on the government’s participation and guidance. … In the new century, environmental news gradually broke through the old official reporting system, arousing the attention and appreciation of the marketized media, and gradually became an independent news category.” The author reports that “while Chinese environmental journalism has developed enormously in the past four decades, Chinese journalists have encountered many difficulties during this period.” Finally, she says, “although the news media have gradually adapted to the laws of market operation, the long-term, government-led model has caused many problems.”

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