Event Detail


How China Will Save the World or Destroy It

Jonathan Watts
Monday, 7 Mar 2011
Duke of Windsor Social Services Building
British journalist and author Jonathon Watts talks on his research for his various writing which most recently involved an environmental travelogue from the Tibetan Plateau to Inner Mongolia via tiger farms, melting glaciers, cancer villages, science parks, coal mines , ecocities, and a Barbie Emporium. Held in conjunction with the Literary Festival.

No Booking required. Held in conjunction with the Literary Festival. RGS HK Members HK$130 Non Members HK$130

Drinks 6.30 pm lecture starts 7.30 pm.

Jonathan Watts lectures on "How China Will Save! Mankind or Destroy It ". Jonathan Watts is an awardwinning journalist and the author of the bestseller "When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save the World or Destroy It ". In this lecture, Mr Watts gives an environmental travelogue, from mountain paradises to industrial wastelands, from the Tibetan Plateau to Inner Mongolia, via tiger farms, melting glaciers, diseased villages, science parks, coal mines, ecocities and evan a Barbie megastore.

Mr Watts's lecture is based on almost 300 interviews and close to 100,000 kilometres of journeys, leading to the conclusion that no one in the world can be unaffected by what's happening in China. He believes that to be in early 21st century China is to witness two hundred years of industrialisation and urbanisation in the West, playing at super fastforward across the Chinese landmass.

Mr Watts argues that to understand China and its relations with the outside world, it is essential to understand China's environment. With filthy water, choking emissions and an unsustainable appetite for recourses, China's development is pushing the planet to the limits and has strongly intensified international competition for scarce resources. His lecture is thus a journey through an environment in crisis, examining the responses of those at the top of society and the hopes of those below.

Ultimately, Mr Watts considers three key questions: "Why or whether geography and history are conspiring against China? "; "Where are ecological walls likely to block growth and increase stress with other nations? "; and "Whether scientific development and a focus on renewable energy can make red China green? " In answering these questions, Mr Watts is consistently attentive to human detail, vividly portraying individual lives in a country too often viewed from outside as a faceless state.

Jonathan Watts has reported on East Asia for The Guardian since 1996 and is now Asia Environment Correspondent. He is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China and vicepresident of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. His multimedia career includes seven years in China, seven years in Japan, five trips to North Korea plus covering the 2008 Tibetan unrest, the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympics. He has worked for the BBC, CNN, Mother Jones, Christian Science Monitor, the South China Morning Post, Daily Yomiuri and Asahi Shimbun. Since taking his current post in 2009, he has covered the Copenhagen climate conference, renewable energy developments, environmental disasters, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and developments in China's media and society.

See other events in 2011