When A Billion Chinese Jump is a 100,000km environmental travelogue through a country struggling to manage economic growth and declining ecosystems. With foul air, filthy water, rising temperatures and encroaching deserts, the country faces a stark choice: either accept catastrophe, or make radical changes. To examine the responses of those at the top and bottom of society, Watts makes a mesmerizing journey from mountain paradises to industrial wastelands, exploring cancer villages, waste dumps, panda sex, Barbie emporiums and a village planning a skyscraper taller than the Empire State Building. At heart, Watts’ book is not a call for panic, but a demonstration that – even with the crisis so severe, and the political scope so limited – the actions of individuals can make a difference.

Jonathan Watts is Asia Environment Correspondent for The Guardian, a former President of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China, and Vice-President of FCC of Japan. Watts’ multimedia career includes seven years in Japan, five trips to North Korea, the 2000 G8 Summit, the 2002 World Cup, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and work for CNN, BBC, TV Tokyo, Mother Jones, South China Morning Post and Asahi Shimbun. After taking up his current post in 2009, he covered the Copenhagen climate conference, the Boao Forum, renewable energy developments, and more rubbish dumps than he cares to remember.

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