China’s Eco-Civilization: From History to Policy

R. James Ferguson

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The modern Chinese public has demonstrated a growing ecological awareness, driven in part by the impact of rapid industrialisation and related pollution trends that have directly undermined societal health and well-being. The PRC government recognises the real cost of environmental degradation in the face of rising energy needs and societal expectations unleased through the "China Dream" of recent years. The linking of large segments of economic, energy, developmental , social and foreign-relations policy under an integrated rubric and already emerged via earlier "harmonious society" and "harmonious world" doctrines.This approach has gained extended government endorsement under Xi Jimping through 2013-2018. The construction of an Ecological Civilisation, first formally taken up from 2007, has now been given the status of a National Development Strategy and has been further embedded in the 13th Five-year Plan for 2016-2020 and gained extra endorsement in major meetings for CPC (Chinese Communist Party) and the NPC (National People's Congress) in early 2018. Behind the debate stands the long-term engagement of Chinese civilisation with its environmental and productive base. Renowned as pioneers in irrigation and agricultural expansion, early Chinese states developed philosophies directly supportive of agriculture as the "root" on which the other branches of society and state were established. The difficulty of maintaining a large peasant (farming) population on the land without excessive human and environmental exploitation, however, become a major dilemma for all imperial dynasties. This tension has found expression today in the challenge of providing food security and rural livelihoods during periods of intensified industrialisation and urbanisation. this will remain one of the major challenges for a truly Ecological Civilisation in the 21st century, whether in China or elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Discourse on Economic Development
EditorsKartik Roy, Cal Clark
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781536148435
ISBN (Print)9781536148428
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


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