China's environmental policies and its Southeast Asian neighbours

Lynn Thiesmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


China's stated environmental policy is admirable, and does contain targets that are in line with the Rio Declaration. But whatever the goals and implementations domestically, much of China's environment spills over into its neighbours' territory. In reality any nation-state's environment can no longer be monitored and controlled only through that state's policies. Rather, it is by nature a transnational set of resources requiring trans-national policymaking.The People's Republic of China has a vast number of borders, including land borders with 14 nations over 22,000 km in length and with a shared natural environment. Its environmental policy, therefore, is of immediate concern to all. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community will undergo full economic integration in 2015, and its members must agree on consistent standards for the environment. Yet, we find in China's Five-Year Plan no specific mention of environmental protection for its cross-border partners. If this is not properly addressed, it is likely to mean long-term contamination, including in areas inside China. This study focuses on the impacts of current Chinese environmental policies and issues on its neighbours in Southeast Asia. It seeks to show that for China's sake as well as that of relations with its neighbours, environmental policy needs to include multilateral negotiations and agreements on cross-border environmental resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Asian Public Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul


  • China
  • Southeast Asia
  • cross-border
  • environmental policy
  • multilateral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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