When a Billion Chinese Jump: A Journey Through the World's Biggest Economic Boom and Environmental Bust

November 10, 2010 // 11:00am12:15pm

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

To understand China and its relations with the outside world, one needs to understand its environment. Jonathan Watts argues in his new book that with filthy water, choking air pollution and an unsustainable appetite for resources, China's development has pushed our planet to the limits and intensified international competition for scarce resources. In his book When a Billion Chinese Jump Watts takes a down and dirty look at China's ecological challenges and a bird's eye perspective on why China is different from anything experienced by other countries during a similar stage of development. Traveling the length and breadth of the country and drawing on more than 200 interviews with senior politicians, scientists, businessmen and individuals, his presentation at this November 10 CEF meeting will consider some of the ecological walls that could hinder China's growth and increase stress with other nations, as well as whether China's clean energy development

Watts is Asia Environment Correspondent for The Guardian, a former president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China and vice-president of FCCJ. His book, When a Billion Chinese Jump, is a 100,000km environmental travelogue that traces the course of China's development from coal mines and cancer villages to eco-cities and science labs. Starting in a mountain paradise and ending in a blasted desert, Watts has talked to individuals involved in every aspect of the crisis, from tiger farmers, illegal miners and a Shanghai cosmetics maven to the engineers, artists and activists trying to prevent catastrophe—and profit from climate change.

Location: 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room

Experts & Staff

More about CEF

  • Mailing List: If you are interested in receiving CEF updates on new events and publications, please enter your information in the "Email Updates" section at the top-right corner of this page.
  • Students: Apply your interests to an internship at the China Environment Forum!
  • Job Seekers: Browse job listings in the field of China and the environment advertised through our network.

Wilson Center Photo Gallery

Browse or share photos from the Wilson Center’s events.

To Attend an Event

Unless otherwise noted:

Meetings listed on this page are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required unless otherwise noted. All meetings take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Please see map and directions. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

To confirm time and place, contact Maria-Stella Gatzoulis on the day of the event: tel. (202) 691-4188. Check this page for the latest updates and notices.