Environmental Governance in China

State, Society, and Market


This article provides an analytical overview of major works on the topic of environmental governance in China, with a particular emphasis on studies examining policies during the reform era (post-1978). We begin by exploring the rise of China’s “environmental state” and the various institutional and political factors that shape state behavior. Next, we describe the complex relationship between the Chinese state and society, analyzing studies related to environmental public opinion, citizen action, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), green civil society, the role of the media, and China’s judiciary. Finally, we conclude by reviewing research on market-based mechanisms of environmental governance in China, including emissions trading schemes, environmental transparency, corporate information disclosure, and green finance.
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Biographical Note

Jesse Turiel is a PhD student in the Earth and Environment department at Boston University. He received dual bachelor's degrees in biology and geography from Syracuse University, and his current research focuses on the interactions between public opinion and environmental governance in China. Along with Professors Anthony Saich and Edward Cunningham, he is currently administering a multi-annual public opinion survey of Chinese citizens with funding from the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance. Jesse has conducted research on a broad range of energy and environmental issues, and has experience teaching courses in sustainable development, renewable energy, and international economics.

Iza Ding is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research examines post-Socialist political and economic development, with a substantive focus on bureaucracy, public opinion and environmentalism, and a regional focus on Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. She received her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2016, and B.A. in Political Science and Russian and Eastern European Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2009.

John Chung-En Liu is an assistant professor of sociology at Occidental College. During 2016-2017, he was the China Energy Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. John received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joint master’s degrees in economics and environmental management from Yale University, and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University. His research draws from economic and environmental sociology to study climate change governance. He has also published on the environmental public opinions in the China. Based in Los Angeles, John has research experiences in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, China, Taiwan, and India.


The journal’s target audience will be a composite of both specialist and non-specialist readerships. Sinologists trained in a variety of disciplines, including political science, sociology, economics, public policy, and other areas, as well as policy makers, will find utility in up-to-date review articles included in the journal.