"Toxic Politics: China's Environmental Health Crisis and Its Challenge to the Chinese State"

Photo for "Toxic Politics: China

Book Talk by Dr. Huang, Seton Hall University, Council on Foreign Relations

Thursday, April 8, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Live via Zoom

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Environmental degradation in China has not only brought a wider range of diseases and other health consequences than previously understood, it has also taken a heavy toll on Chinese society, the economy, and the legitimacy of the party-state. In Toxic Politics, Yanzhong Huang presents new evidence of China's deepening health crisis and challenges the widespread view that China is clearly winning the war on pollution. Although government leaders are learning, stricter and more centralized policy enforcement measures have not been able to substantially and consistently reduce pollution or improve public health. Huang connects this failure to pathologies inherent in the institutional structure of the Chinese party-state, which embeds conflicting incentives for officials and limits the capacity of the state to deliver public goods. Toxic Politics reveals a political system that is remarkably resilient but fundamentally flawed. Huang examines the implications for China's future, both domestically and internationally.

Yanzhong Huang is a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he directs the Global Health Governance roundtable series. He is also professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, where he developed the first academic concentration among U.S. professional schools of international affairs that explicitly addresses the security and foreign policy aspects of health issues. He is the founding editor of Global Health Governance: The Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm. He has written extensively on China and global health. His writing has appeared in outlets including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. In 2006, he coauthored the first scholarly article that systematically examined China’s soft power. He is the author of Governing Health in Contemporary China (Routledge 2013) and Toxic Politics: China’s Environmental Health Crisis and its Challenge to the Chinese State (Cambridge 2020). He has testified many times before congressional committees and is regularly consulted by major media outlets, the private sector, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations on global health issues and China. He is an expert adviser of the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security. In 2012, he was listed by InsideJersey magazine as one of the “20 Brainiest People in New Jersey.”

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies