"The environmental crisis in China gets more and more serious every day, making environmental reporting one of the most important categories of reporting in China today."
Liu Jianqiang, environmental reporter, China
For Liu Jianqiang, learning what real journalism is has changed his world. Liu was born during the Cultural Revolution in the countryside of Shandong province, before investigative reporters existed in China. He entered the journalism program at Tsinghua University at age 31, and in the seven years since he has become an award-winning investigative journalist, particularly on China’s thorny environmental issues.
Liu writes for Southern Weekend, a weekly newspaper covering national issues, where he has scored several journalistic coups on issues ranging from the environment to local government corruption in a murder case.
Often the stories that Liu and other reporters write are censored by authorities. "As a journalist, my job should be focused on writing a good report. But half of my effort is spent on considering how to get a story past the censors and the likelihood of punishment,” said Liu after one of his stories was spiked.
In March 2005, after Liu reported on a project in Beijing that had illegally avoided an environmental assessment and had not been approved by the proper agency, the vice-minister of the state environmental protection agency ordered the project to shut down.
More significantly, the story led to a real public hearing at the highest level, where this environmental issue was discussed openly, with public participation.
In 2005 Liu received China’s highest award for environmental journalism, the Dupont Prize.
Liu trains Chinese journalists in environmental reporting at workshops organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN). In a report he wrote for EJN, Liu said, “The environmental crisis in China gets more and more serious every day, making environmental reporting one of the most important categories of reporting in China today.”
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