Welcome to Francis Academic Press

The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology, 2022, 4(5); doi: 10.25236/FSST.2022.040511.

Understanding Pollution in China through the Lens of Environmental Justice


Lingjia Zhong

Corresponding Author:
Lingjia Zhong

University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT


Environmental Justice is based on the principle that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution, and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment, in which the essence of the theory is about the fair distribution of environmental benefits and responsibilities. Taking mass incidents in China from the 1990s to the beginning of the 21st century as examples, this paper illustrates that the lack of understanding and demonstration of three dimensions of environmental justice: distribution, political administration, and social recognition, has fundamentally led to severe environmental conditions in China, notably in the form of heavy environmental pollution. This paper suggests to highlight the "injustice" embedded in Chinese pollution issues, which usually hidden behind the common "excuse" of rapid urbanization and economic development, through establishing the concept of environmental justice, paying attention to economic and environmental policies and focusing on humanistic concerns.


Environmental Justice; Pollution; China

Cite This Paper

Lingjia Zhong. Understanding Pollution in China through the Lens of Environmental Justice. The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology (2022) Vol. 4, Issue 5: 62-66. https://doi.org/10.25236/FSST.2022.040511.


[1] Energy.gov. 2020. What Is Environmental Justice?. [online] Available at:<https: //www. energy.gov/lm/ services/environmental-justice/what-environmental-justice> [Accessed 21 April 2020].

[2] Johnson T, Lora-Wainwright A, Lu J. The quest for environmental justice in China: citizen participation and the rural–urban network against Panguanying’s waste incinerator[J]. Sustainability science, 2018, 13(3): 733-746.

[3] Light, A. and De-Shalit, A., Moral And Political Reasoning In Environmental Practice[M]. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.2003.

[4] Anna Lora Wainwright. Resigned Activism: Living with Pollution in Rural China [M].The MIT Press: 2017-01-01.

[5] Mah, A. and Wang, X., Research on Environmental Justice in China: Limitations and Possibilities. Chinese Journal of Environmental Law, 2017. 1(2), pp.263-272.

[6] Rechtschaffen, C., Gauna, E. and O'Neill, C., Environmental Justice[M] Durham (N.C.): Carolina Academic Press. 2009

[7] Schlosberg D. Three dimensions of environmental and ecological justice[J]. European Consortium for Political Research Annual Joint Sessions, Grenoble, 2001, 6(11).

[8] Schlosberg D. Reconceiving environmental justice: global movements and political theories[J]. Environmental politics, 2004, 13(3): 517-540.

[9] Walker, G., 2017. Environmental Justice. Johanneshov: MTM.

[10] Xie L. Environmental justice in China’s urban decision-making[J]. Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, 2011, 3(2): 160-179.

[11] Hong Dayong.Environmental Equity: A Sociological Perspective on Environmental Issues [J]. Zhejiang Journal, 2001 (4)

[12] Zhang Yulin. Integrated political and economic development mechanisms and environmental conflicts in rural China[J]. Exploration and Controversy, 2006(5):26-28.

[13] Zhu Li and Long Yonghong, Environmental Justice in China: Problems and Solutions[J]. Journal of Nanjing University (Philosophy, humanity and social sciences version) 2012,48.