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Daniel K. Gardner
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Daniel K. Gardner is Dwight W. Morrow Professor of History at Smith College. He has written on the cultural and intellectual history of China through the 20th century. His most recent book is Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction, published by Oxford University Press (2014).

He also teaches and writes about China’s environmental issues today—and how these issues are to be understood in the context of rapid social, political, cultural, and economic change.

He has contributed articles to the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Christian Science Monitor on Chinese politics and the environment today and is finishing a book on environmental pollution in China for Oxford University Press.

Entries by Daniel K. Gardner

Has Beijing's "Red Alert" Air Made Its Way to Paris--and COP21?

(2) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 8:40 PM

Coal-fired factories are closed, schools have been urged to shutter their doors, outdoor construction sites have ceased operation, and the city's six million cars are subject to alternate day driving. Beijing, for the first time since its four-tiered pollution alert system went into effect in 2013, has issued a "red...

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U.S., China Cooperate on Climate: 5 Reasons to Be Hopeful

(3) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 4:22 PM


Since the U.S. and China reached a climate change deal a couple of weeks ago, pundits have been debating: What do the emission reduction figures in the agreement really mean? Are the reduction targets even achievable? Would the reductions, in any case, be...

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Can China Win the War on Air Pollution?

(1) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 4:41 PM

China's polluted air -- so much in the news these days -- has been 30 years in the making.


When Deng Xiaoping introduced market reforms in the late 1970s, the country started its steady rise from the economic doldrums, largely through...

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Is China's Pollution Testing the People's Patience?

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 3:28 PM

In a recent speech in Beijing, Zhao Penggao, an official in the powerful National Development and Resource Commission, announced that China is considering setting binding limits on the levels of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), adding, "As pollution is so serious, if we don't do something about it, the public won't...

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Mao Reclaims Tiananmen Square: For How Long?

(7) Comments | Posted May 13, 2011 | 12:20 PM

What do Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei and the iconic sage Confucius have in common? They've both recently disappeared from public sight without explanation.

Ai went missing on April 3. Only on April 7 did government officials acknowledge that he had been detained as he was preparing to board a flight...

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Your iPod Is Polluting China and L.A. -- and Wyoming Might Be Next

(8) Comments | Posted March 24, 2011 | 8:56 PM

When you bought your last Apple iPod, you may have been aware that it had been manufactured at a factory in China, perhaps the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen in the province of Guangzhou. (Let's put aside for the moment the working conditions there.) You may have been aware too that...

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China Announces Priorities for Next Five Years

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2011 | 2:26 PM

This past Saturday, Premier Wen Jiabao delivered his 2011 "Report on the Work of the Government" to the 3,000 delegates gathered in Beijing for the National People's Congress. The report, delivered annually, is comparable to U.S. President's State of the Union Address, laying out the successes of the...

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What If China's Drought Goes Global?

(4) Comments | Posted February 15, 2011 | 1:30 PM

China's drought is bad, the worst in at least 60 years. Roughly 12.5 million acres of winter wheat crop have been damaged. And a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) alert reported last week that 2.57 million people and 2.79 million livestock are suffering from shortage of...

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Low on Water, Short of Crop Land, Beijingers Turn to Golf

(2) Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 6:03 PM

In 2004, there were 38 golf courses in the Beijing area. Worried about land grabs by developers, the Chinese government that year issued a moratorium on the development of new courses. Just two weeks ago, however, the Southern Weekend (Nanfang zhoumo) reported that China's Department of Homeland, after...

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The 'Sputnik Moment' Epidemic: Is China Our New Russia?

(14) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 12:02 PM

It's an epidemic. Everyday you wake up and read about someone else who's had a "Sputnik moment." Thomas Friedman may have been the first (September 2009); an incubatory year later and the number of its victims mounts. In December of 2010 alone, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Senator...

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