Christina Tang

Thoughts and encounters while pursuing means to improve air quality in China.



Beijing’s air pollution is the most famous in China, but that can make people in some other cities think their air is good—at least, not as bad as Beijing’s. But is the air in other cities safe?

In 2013, Shanghai had newsworthy air pollution that convinced many people in Shanghai that air…

today’s air quality in Hong Kong, poor air arrive too soon

- “Email is dead in China. People talk to each other on WeChat, on their smartphone device.”

- “Modern Chinese urban society is to a large extent a “nouveau riche” society, but one that is in constant conflict with the traditional Chinese cultural soul. This creates daily paradoxes and near-comical situations. Grand-parents will not spend a single RMB on their own well-being but will pamper their kid, and especially their grand-kid, to oblivion. You can see a gold-plated (!) BMW X6 in the little “胡同” (alleys) in Beijing, where a $150,000 car can barely squeeze through, then hear the driver coming down to argue, bargain, curse for more than 30’ with the parking assistant in the street, about whether or not he should pay the 10 or 15 RMB ($1-$2) parking fee. Of course, these are not just Chinese phenomena, pretty much every country in the world has gone through its “nouveau riche” phase at times of rapid economic growth, it’s just that in China everything happens at a China scale and at a China pace.”

-  ”Chinese users’ aversion to paying upfront for any internet product has forced Chinese developers to come up with freemium models with the most sophisticated monetization techniques, using in-app purchasing, before anyone else did in the world. Game developers in China have a deep understanding of human psychology, the user’s desires and weaknesses. As a rule of thumb, Chinese games’ ARPPU is on average much higher than their counterparts’ abroad, while the Chinese GDP per capita is still only a fraction of most other countries.”

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Repost: Horrifingly Beautiful Photos Show The Human Cost Of China’s Massive Pollution Problem

Gritty, detailed scenes from some of China’s most polluted places will make you grateful for the air you breathe.

Headlines about China’s record-breaking pollution are usually accompanied by hazy photos of the Beijing skyline and statistics so large they seem abstract: 1.2 million Chinese people die because of air pollution each year, and water pollution kills another 70,000 people.

In a new series, U.K. photographer Souvid Datta takes a different perspective on the problem, telling the everyday story of the people living with the pollution and showing detailed shots of murky water or air rather than distant cityscapes.

"At the core was my aversion to the pruned, cliched, and general stories of China and its environmental crises that we are most commonly exposed to: the ‘smog apocalypse,’ ‘emerging-market’ arguments and statistics, or photos of pedestrian crowds donning air-filter masks," says Datta.

"These only served to distance and over-simplify a nuanced reality, and the last thing I wanted to do was add to that narrative. The work had to evoke a sense of genuine empathy and curiosity in readers, something that could nudge them towards productive awareness."

For four weeks, Datta traveled to some of the most polluted places in Tianjin, Heibei, Jiangsu, and Zheijang provinces, along with mega-cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Inspired by the loss of a friend’s younger brother to lung cancer in Beijing, he wanted to document how decades of corruption and censorship had worsened pollution and affected millions.

He also wanted to show the current state of pollution in China as things slowly begin to change—in the last couple of years, the government has finally started to acknowledge the extent of the challenge and taken some first steps in response, like allowing lawsuits against companies that pollute.

The changes have been driven by public anger at the situation. “2013 saw protests against pollution multiply as people have become more concerned about the heavy ecological cost of economic development,” Datta says. “And where once the firm hand of theChinese communist party effectively controlled public conversations and restricted opposition, young people are now aware that the fight against pollution is a personal right.”

In the future, Datta will return again to document more. “China’s environmental crises definitely arise on a scale as epic and sweeping as the country itself,” he says. “Four weeks was nowhere near enough.”

Enjoy the journey.
The choice is yours.
quote which resonates

rare oasis in busy Shanghai

The authors demonstrate that givers with a specific, concrete agenda — trying to make someone smile, for instance — experience greater happiness than those pursuing a more abstract goal, like trying to make someone “happy.”

The authors hope their paper can offer practical solutions to the growing problem of donor fatigue or “helper burnout.” Volunteers who seek amorphous goals such as changing the lives of others are destined to experience disappointment and frustration, “making helping a negative rather than a positive influence on givers’ happiness,” they write. “Encouraging givers to re-frame their prosocial goals in more concrete terms might generally reduce helper burnout.”

Furthermore, it can inspire a cycle of doing good deeds for others. As Rudd explains, “When we experience a bigger helper’s high, we not only feel greater happiness in the moment, we may also be more likely to give again in the future.”