Chinese Visit, Seek Ideas for Grassroots Programs

From May 26 through June 6, five Chinese community environmental leaders will be visiting the San Francisco Bay Area to learn about community action and water pollution. This program will focus on developing the skills and expertise of Chinese grassroots organizations, including community outreach, media work, and government and business relations.

In response to a long list of environmental concerns in China, including pollution, energy use, and biodiversity loss, a citizen movement has emerged. One of the most critical environmental issues in China is water pollution. Moe than 350 million people – the size of the entire United States -- lack access to clean drinking water and even China's environmental agency states that "China's environmental crisis, particularly for water, is coming sooner than expected."

This exchange program will allow the following four participants to learn about the U.S. response to water pollution from a local, regional, and national perspective. Participants will meet with community organizers, business leaders, media, and others who are working to promote sound water quality and management practices in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The participants are: Ge Yun, executive director, Xinjiang Conservation Fund; Zhao Zhong, chief coordinator, Green Camel Bell; Fang Minghe, executive director, Green Eyes; Fei Xiaojing, executive director, Green Student Forum; He Fang, manager, Dalian Environment and Resources Center;

The Xinjiang Conservation Fund is dedicated to the conservation of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region in Northwest China. One of its key projects is public outreach on Xinjiang's rivers and wetlands and the environmental challenges they are facing. The group also works on environmental health issues with local communities in Xinjiang.

Green Camel Bell is the only environmental nongovernmental organization in Gansu Province working to promote environmental conservation in the region. It works in conjunction with students at Lanzhou universities to organize public outreach campaigns.

Established in 2000, Green Eyes' mission is to provide opportunities for students to observe the real state of the local environment. Their water project mobilizes young people and the public to participate in water activities.

China Green Student Forum is an umbrella organization for university green groups founded in 1996.

Established in 2002, Dalian Environment and Resources Center evolved from a local environmental group and became an umbrella organization for various student and youth groups. It has worked to protect the Long River in Dalian.