China

Jasmine

Jasminum officinale

Photo of jasmine flower

General Description / Cultural Significance

China is renowned for its jasmine plants. Cultivation of the plant in China began between 206 BC and 220 AD, and use of Jasmine flowers to scent tea has been documented since the third century. Grown primarily in western China, the dried, highly fragrant flowers open in the teacup to create a soft, sweet, aromatic experience. To create jasmine tea, the flowers, which bloom at night, are picked in the early morning and mixed the next evening with tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) as the jasmine opens and releases its scent. The flower’s aroma is calming, often used to treat stress and depression; it is also a known aphrodisiac. Medicinally, Jasminum officinale L. var. grandiflorum has antiviral actions, and is used to treat the Hepatitus B virus in China.

Inspired by the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, the 2011 pro-democracy protests, also known as the Chinese Jasmine Revolution, involved massive street demonstrations in twelve cities across China. The call for revolution spread primarily through the internet. In response, the Chinese government banned the sale of Jasmine flowers, the word “Jasmine” was blocked from search engines, and there were arrests of protesters and journalists, resulting in numerous injuries.

China is one of many countries considered “megadiverse,” in that it is rich in biological diversity highly associated with the country’s historical traditional knowledge base of plant use. China has become fully engaged in creating ecological stability, protecting their natural heritage and defining a sustainable way of life. 

Climate Change/Conservation Status

From 2011 onwards, air quality in parts of China, especially Beijing, have been described as “post-apocalyptic,” with pollution levels beyond the 500-point limit on the Air Quality Index. Independent reports have put the number beyond

In 2014, the country said it is no longer putting economic growth ahead of the environment and progress has been made. Several Chinese cities have cut concentrations of fine particles by 32 %. Beijing has reduced pollution by 25%. China has prohibited coal-fired power plants in the most polluted areas of the country. It is often replaced with natural gas. The country has also reduced its iron and steel manufacturing and closed coal mines completely. These

However, studies from 2017 have shown that China’s effort to control the smog crisis may be futile without the world coming on board to resolve climate change. Climate change has caused wind patterns across Asia to shift and in winter the air no longer clears over Northern China. It will take the world’s action in limiting greenhouse gases to clear air pollution, but without change, concentration of toxic particles that can penetrate into the bloodstream will continue. China and other cities grappling with bad air pollution cannot solve their smog crisis alone. Air pollution is severely affecting peoples’ olfactory systems and ability to appreciate and detect the smell of jasmine.

The people of China are now demanding a shift to clean, sustainable energy. It is hard for outsiders to believe that before the Cultural Revolution, Beijing 

Agricultural production, vital to China’s population and economy, is vulnerable to the ravages of climate change, understandably worrisome to a sector that employs nearly half of the country’s population. From 2010 to 2011 in the agricultural areas of the country, China experienced its worst drought in 60 years. Such droughts are expected to increase and be more prolonged, threatening China’s

The bottom line is that China’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions was 29.34% in 2017 and in 4 years the number climbed

However, the government is said to be making progress because non-fossil fuel energy has recently become a priority in their adaption to climate change. China dominates the businesses of wind turbines and electric cars and is second in manufacturing solar panels and has increased their use. China has also self-reported that it is protecting flora and fauna by building a national biodiversity network and protecting it with sensory smart monitoring systems. The Ministry of Ecology and the Environment says 18% of its land has been designated as protected areas.

In mid-July 2021, climate change driven rainstorms dropped a year’s worth of rain in Central China. As the storm moved north it continued to unleash torrential rain—10 inches in 2 hours. Floodwaters submerged transportation, infrastructure and buildings affecting millions of people. There was a large number of fatalities from the deluge.

China pledged to become CO2 neutral by 2060

Alternate Names
茉莉花 (Mòlìhuā)

Sources
Brasher, Keith, Friedman, Lisa. “Forum Lauds Climate Efforts by China Even as Its Emissions Climb, The New York Times International (January 26, 2018) Pg. A11.

Cambreleng, Boris “China’s drought may have serious global impact” AFP, 4 February 2011, https://phys.org/news/2011-02-china-drought-global-impact.html

China Watch, (presented by China Daily)  Advertisement in Time Magazine, Vol. 198, Nos. 7-8, August 23rd/August 30, 2021

Greenstone, M. “Four Years After Declaring War on Pollution, Record Progress”. (2018). The New York Times. 14 March 2018.

Goodness, Richard “Oolong Tea: Covering The Basics”. 1 June 2006. Teamuse https://www.teamuse.com/article_060601.html.

Hays, J. “Agriculture in Chine: Challenges, Shortages, Imports And Organic Farming.” N.d., http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat9/sub63/item348.html

Hernandez, J. “Climate Change Worsens China Smog, Studies Say” (2017) The New York Times. 25 March 2017.

“List of Countries by Carbon Dioxide Emissions”. Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

NASA Earth Observatory
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/148623/flooding-in-central-china

Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, Available at: World Sensorium original website.

Ramzy, Austin “China Cracks Down After ‘Jasmine Revolution’ Protest Call”. TIME. 21 February 2011, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2052860,00.html

Wong, Edward. “Beijing Air Pollution Off The Charts.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 2013. Web. 13 July 2017. https://nyti.ms/2jKO6st