Chapter 8: ‘Harmony’ in China’s Climate Change Policy
Paul Howard 8.1 INTRODUCTION Under Hu Jintao’s leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese Government’s response to climate change and other environmental issues will continue to be framed within the context of China’s quest for ‘harmony’ that features a ‘balanced’ relationship between ‘man and nature’ and between economic growth and the environment. International climate change negotiations are inherently complex, largely due to variations in existing political, economic, social and even cultural contexts. This complexity is not exclusively confined to negotiations at the level of the state or within supranational organisations. For, even within states, local contexts preclude a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the formulation and implementation of pollution measures. Within the People’s Republic of China (PRC), great variances in context exist not only between geographic areas, but also between ethnic groups, socioeconomic background and any number of other elements. Overarching this intra-national variance though is a state apparatus which must function to serve its constituents. China’s current leadership is well aware of the need to both serve the citizenry and maintain positive foreign relations. This need to consider both the needs of the citizenry along with the maintenance of cordial foreign relations is central to China’s action and negotiations on climate change. However, it is the domestic audience that remains the foremost priority for the CCP. For, it is the legitimacy of the CCP in the eyes of the Chinese people that is crucial to the party’s long-term future. Increasing concern within China about the state...
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