Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Environment and Health Research in China: The State of the Field*

  • Jennifer Holdaway (a1)

In the context of this symposium, this article reviews social science research in the emerging field of environment and health in China, with a particular focus on the impacts of pollution. It begins with a discussion of the particular nature of China's environment-related health problems, distinguishing the different challenges presented by diseases of poverty, affluence and transition. It then reviews recent developments in policy and civil society with regard to environment and health, and the extent to which work in the social sciences has advanced our knowledge of these and of state–society interactions. The article concludes with some reflections on the need for and challenges of interdisciplinary and international collaboration in this area.

Hide All

This work is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Gerry Bloom . 2011. “Building institutions for an effective health system: lessons from China's experience with rural health reform.” Social Science and Medicine 72 (8), 1302–309.

Chris Bramall . 2003. “Path dependency and growth in rural China since 1978.” Asian Business & Management 2 (3), 301321.

David J Briggs . 2008. “A framework for integrated environmental health impact assessment of systemic risks.” Environmental Health 7 (61), Accessed 7 December 2012.

Dominique F Charron . 2012. Ecohealth Research in Practice: Innovative Applications of an Ecosystem Approach to Health. New York: Springer.

Juan Chen , Shuo Chen and Pierre F. Landry . 2012. “Migration, environmental hazards, and health outcomes in China.” Social Science & Medicine 80, 8595.

Carlos F. Corvalán , Tord Kjellström and Kirk R. Smith . 1999. “Health, environment and sustainable development: identifying links and indicators to promote action.” Epidemiology 10 (5), 656660.

Yanhua Deng , and Guobin Yang . 2013. “Pollution and protest: environmental mobilization in context.” The China Quarterly 214.

Yanli Dong , Masanobu Ishikawa , Xianbing Liu and Shigeyuki Hamori . 2011. “The determinants of citizen complaints on environmental pollution: an empirical study from China.” Journal of Cleaner Production 19 (12), 1306–314.

Jing Fang , and Gerry Bloom . 2010. “China's rural health system and environment-related health risks.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (63), 2335.

Pengqian Fang , Siping Dong , Jingjing Xiao , Chaojie Liu , Xianwei Feng and Yiping Wang . 2010. “Regional inequality in health and its determinants: evidence from China.” Health Policy 94 (1), 1425.

Jennifer Holdaway . 2010b. “Environment and health in China: an emerging research field.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (63), 122.

Alan Irwin , and Brian Wynne . 1996. Misunderstanding science? The public reconstruction of science and technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jakob A Klein . 2013. “Everyday approaches to food safety in Kunming.” The China Quarterly 214.

Hans Kuijper . 2010. “Area studies versus disciplines: towards an interdisciplinary, systemic country approach.” International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 3 (7), 205216.

Anna Lora-Wainwright . 2013. “The inadequate life: rural industrial pollution and lay epidemiology in China.” The China Quarterly 214.

Anna Lora-Wainwright , Yiyun Zhang , Yunmei Wu and Benjamin van Rooij . 2012. “Learning to live with pollution: the making of environmental subjects in a Chinese industrialised village.” The China Journal 68, 106124.

C Ma . 2010. “Who bears the environmental burden in China – an analysis of the distribution of industrial pollution sources?Ecological Economics 69 (9), 1869–876.

E. D. Schoolman , and C. Ma . 2012. “Migration, class and environmental inequality: exposure to pollution in China's Jiangsu province.” Ecological Economics 75, 140151.

Xiao-ming Shen , John F. Rosen , Di Guo and Sheng-mei Wu . 1996. “Childhood lead poisoning in China.” The Science of the Total Environment 181 (2), 101109.

Kirk R. Smith , and Majid Ezzati . 2005. “How environmental health risks change with development: the epidemiologic and environmental risk transitions revisited.” Annual Review of Environmental Resources 30, 291333.

Bryan Tilt . 2006. “Perceptions of risk from industrial pollution in China: a comparison of occupational groups.” Human Organization 65 (2), 115127.

Bryan Tilt . 2007. “The political ecology of pollution enforcement in China: a case from Sichuan's rural industrial sector.” The China Quarterly 192, 915932.

E. van de Poel , O. O'Donnell and E. van Doorslaer . 2012. “Is there a health penalty of China's rapid urbanization?” Health Economics 21(4), 367385.

Benjamin van Rooij . 2010. “The people vs. pollution: understanding citizen action against pollution in China.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (63), 5577.

A. Wagstaff , W. Yip , M. Lindelow and W. Hsiao . 2009. “China's health system and its reform: a review of recent studies.” Health Economics 18, 723.

M. Wang , M. Webber , B. Finlayson and J. Barnett . 2008. “Rural industries and water pollution in China.” Journal of Environmental Management 86 (4), 648659.

Liming Wu , Shannon Rutherford and Cordia Chu . 2011. “The need for health impact assessment in China: potential benefits for public health and steps forward.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 31, 420424.

Fengshi Wu . 2009. “Environmental politics in China: an issue area in review.” Journal of Chinese Political Science 14 (4), 383406.

Guobin Yang . 2010. “Brokering environment and health in China: issue entrepreneurs of the public sphere.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (63), 101118.

Junfeng Zhang , Denise L. Mauzerall , Tong Zhu , Song Liang , Majid Ezzati and Justin V Remais . 2010. “Environmental health in China: progress towards clean air and safe water.” Lancet 375, 1110–19.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 64 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 177 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.