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“The Extraordinary Success of China’s ‘War on Pollution’”

Dr. Guojun He from HKU Business School has engaged in KE activities promoted the understanding of China’s success in its “war on pollution.” Dr. He has received the University’s Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award 2022 for this project.

In the past few years, the Chinese government shifted away from its long-standing strategy of prioritizing economic growth over environmental concerns and launched the “war on pollution” and  Dr. He published several high-impacted articles in leading journals to discuss the costs and benefits of doing so. His research findings have attracted wide media coverage (e.g., New York Times, AP, Reuters, NPR, Bloomberg, China Daily, People’s Daily, SCMP, TVB, etc.) and significantly raised public awareness of pollution and its consequences in China. Meanwhile, Dr. He has given public lectures through major online platforms on China’s “war on pollution,", which attracted tens of thousands of viewers.

Dr. He led an international research team that encouraged Chinese citizens to participate in environmental governance. They recruited volunteers to monitor the polluting activities of major industrial polluters in China and significantly improved their environmental compliances through bottom-up monitoring. Data showed that in 2020 the research team reduced emission violations of Chinese industrial polluters by more than 60%, water pollution emissions (measured by COD) by 13%, and air pollution emissions (measured by SO2) by 4%. In addition, Dr. He’s research team also designed methods to improve the reliability of historical environmental pollution data in China, which are important for scholars, citizens, and policymakers.

Dr. He also supported regulators and other public sector actors in policy- and decision-making processes to deal with emerging environmental challenges, including serving as a consultant for the CICC Research Institute and advising on the carbon trading system, writing background papers for the Asian Development Bank’s 2023 Asian Development Outlook, and serving on the board of directors for the Green Development Research Institute of Beijing Municipal Administrative Center and offering policy consultations to the regulators.

Dr. Guojun He received the University’s Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award 2022 for this project.

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