For Isabel Hilton of China Dialogue, a website she set up four years ago to shine a penetrating light onto the environmental problems facing the vast and booming country, the activities of the Goodall Institute and the British Council are not alone, but they are rare.
“The Chinese authorities have always been wary of foreign NGOs. But they are also only too well aware of the huge environmental challenges they face,” Hilton said.
“When we started up nearly four years ago there was virtually no public discussion of climate change. Since then the whole landscape has changed and there is much more broad discussion of the issues around it — even the skeptics who view it as a ploy by the West to hold China back. That makes it very interesting.