Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE also known as "e-waste") is currently the fastest growing solid waste stream on the planet. Its management has been recognized as one of the major challenges of the 21st century, not only by the scientific community but also by international and national authorities, activist organizations and the multinational corporations which produce it. Yet WEEE is not only a technical or ecological problem to be managed but also deeply rooted in social relations, economic opportunities and cultural contexts.
Environmental health is an urgent global issue. Building on her long-term work on experiences of illness, since 2007 Anna began to research the extent to which Chinese villagers regard pollution as a cause of illness and with what consequences. Citizen activism against pollution has attracted the attention of the media and the government alike. Although most environmental suffering takes place far from the purview of journalists, courts and NGOs, the daily grind of “living with pollution” has received scant attention.
Healthcare provision in rural areas presents an ongoing challenge for the Chinese government. Despite the recent introduction of a cooperative healthcare scheme, many obstacles remain to the even and fair distribution of welfare. In this context, it is vital to understand how Chinese villagers themselves view health, illness and healthcare, how they explain illnesses and where they may seek help.
This project is supported by a three-year grant (2014-2017) titled 'Coalitions of the "weak": fighting pollution at China's rural-urban interface', funded by Hong Kong Research Grants Council (HK$457,168). It started in 2013 as a collaboration with Dr. Thomas Johnson (City University of Hong Kong) and Dr. Lu Jixia (China Agricultural University). We carried out an extensive documentary research, several interviews with lawyers and NGO workers, and exploratory fieldwork in three sites (Hebei, Guangdong and Sichuan). Further fieldwork took place in 2016 and 2017.
China’s urban population has grown from 172 million in 1978 to 562 million in 2005, when it reached 42.99% of the total population. According to the census in April 2011, 49.7% of Chinese was living in cities, and by now urbanites outnumber rural residents, making China a predominantly urban nation for the first time in its history. One study suggests that by 2025 350 million more people will have moved to cities, and in 2030 urban population will top 1 billion.
The China's Health Environment and Welfare (CHEW) Research Group aims to bring together graduate students and academic staff who are researching environment and welfare issues in China and beyond. The project aims to promote interdisciplinary dialogues and encourage future collaborations between participants. By providing the platform for such discussions, hosting speakers series and workshops we aim to create a hub for discussing environmental problems, receiving critical feedback and discussing pressing issues and approaches to environment and welfare.
FORHEAD is an interdisciplinary network of researchers and other professionals working on the intersections of health, environment and development in China. Since 2008, FORHEAD has sought to build the field of interdisciplinary environmental health studies in China through a number of activities, including:
The spate of suicides during 2010 by young Foxconn workers aged between 17 and 25 threw a spotlight on the appalling working conditions endured by those creating the material devices on which the digital society depends. Jenny Chan and her colleagues investigated the lives of rural migrant workers and teenaged student interns at Taiwanese-owned Foxconn, the world’s largest maker of iPhones for Apple and other high profile buyers.
This project consists of a series of studies which investigates ethnic minorities’ experiences, from education to the labour market, notably in the North American, Australian, and Chinese contexts. The studies analyze the ‘ethnic penalty’ that emerges when looking at the relationship between the educational and occupational levels of ethnic minority members.
Paul Irwin Crookes recently participated as both speaker and panel chair in a policy-led seminar entitled ‘China, The West and the New Asian Century’, organised by LSE Ideas at the London School of Economics. Focusing on the twin themes of EU-China relations and the prospects for further economic integration within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a regional actor, Paul’s research presentation explored the geostrategic and political tensions in the region in the context of China’s re-emergence as a global power.