An Environmental Civil Society in China? Bridging Theoretical Gaps through a Case Study of Environmental Protest
AbstractIn discussing China‟s environmental issues scholars generally agree that a strong civil society is needed for effective environmental management. The related literature primarily discusses the theory on environmental citizen action and environmental movements, in addition to assessments of the potential for such public engagement through surveys. In this study the approach taken is that the results of surveys do not provide a reliable insight into the potential of such activities. Instead, this study attempts to test the existing theory by con-ducting a case study. The claims tested are: (1) environmentalism in China is non-confrontational; (2) environmentalism in China is locally fragmented; and (3) further political opportunity is needed. An additional aspect is the 2003 EIA law, which is considered in terms of its contribution to environmental civil society in China. The study concludes that the condition of civil society in China is not as insubstantial as portrayed by most scholars, and that the poten-tial for an environmental movement is quite promising.