Information, Technology, and Digitalization in China’s Environmental Governance

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Forthcoming

17 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019

See all articles by Genia Kostka

Genia Kostka

Freie Universität, Berlin

Zhang Xuehua

Sichuan University

Kyoung Marvin Shin

National Tsing Hua University

Date Written: October 21, 2019


Research on the relationship between information, technology, and environmental governance in the current Information Age has gained momentum in recent years. Nevertheless, much theoretical, empirical, and normative issues remain seriously under-explored. Existing studies also tend to be predominantly based on contexts, experiences, and lessons in advanced democratic societies. What the rapid developments in new information technologies, data, and information networks might mean for environmental politics and governance in non-democratic contexts remains even more elusive. This special issue brings together some of the latest research in the context of contemporary China to shed light on some of these fundamental issues. We argue that the role of information has evolved over time as dominant approaches to environmental regulation have shifted. Yet, findings in this special issue show that how it has manifested in China thus far has been anything but straightforward. While a few parallels can be drawn between advanced democratic countries and China, many of the predictions made about the effects of data and information technologies have not been borne out in China. We raise several questions as a fruitful avenue for further research.

Keywords: informational governance; China; environmental governance; state-society relations; regulation

Suggested Citation

Kostka, Genia and Xuehua, Zhang and Shin, Kyoung Marvin, Information, Technology, and Digitalization in China’s Environmental Governance (October 21, 2019). Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Genia Kostka

Freie Universität, Berlin ( email )

Boltzmannstr. 3
Berlin, 14195

Zhang Xuehua

Sichuan University ( email )

No. 24 South Section1, Yihuan Road,
Chengdu, Sichuan 610064

Kyoung Marvin Shin (Contact Author)

National Tsing Hua University ( email )

No. 101, Section 2, Guangfu Road, East District
Hsin Chu 3, 300

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