Interview with Liu Jianqiang: Environmental Journalism and Censorship in China

Asia Society interviewed environmental journalist Liu Jianqiang about journalism, new media, and the environmental movement in China. A former investigative reporter for Southern Weekend, Liu is now a columnist and associate editor for China Dialogue:

NS: What are the various impediments to environmental journalism in China and how has this changed over time?

LJ: The environment in China is not politics; politics is very sensitive. Journalists do find it easier to report about the environment. But my question has always been who is really harming China’s environment? It’s not you, me or the common people. It’s the huge interest groups out there. From local governments to companies and corporations, there are huge stakes in maximizing profit.

When we highlight these stories, journalists are threatened by companies and local governments. This one instance, when a colleague and I were reporting about the Tiger Leaping Gorge dam in Yunnan province – my colleague was detained for four hours and when we did publish the article, the hydropower company called us and told me that the report was false and asked us to issue a public apology.