Is coercive environmentalism the answer?


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In this episode of Sinica, which was taped live at the fourth annual NEXTChina Conference on November 11, Kaiser and Jeremy chat with Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro, co-authors of a new book called China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet. Li, an assistant professor of environmental studies at NYU Shanghai, and Shapiro, the chair of the environmental politics program at American University, tackle the question of whether a state-led authoritarian approach is needed to address the crisis of global warming and other looming ecological catastrophes. And while their focus is on the environment, the book interrogates more broadly the whole technocratic authoritarian approach to governance, with relevance to pandemic response, population policy, and much more.

3:43: State-led environmentalism in China 

16:18: Mechanisms of state power and enforcement on the environment

23:12: Environmentalism and China’s illiberal turn

31:06: China’s space ambitions and technocratic leadership