Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Komei Dempster

Second Advisor

Stanley Kwong


Environmental degradation is a contemporary issue that has gained a lot of attention in recent history for China. The developing country’s industrial revolution has led to unprecedented carbon emissions, and despite efforts to curb population growth, China’s expanding and aging population has presented the country with numerous challenges. In this essay, I examine China’s environmental issues and the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) policy decisions through the lens of Confucian role relations. Through this lens, and given the multitude of challenges China is facing, it may be argued that the PRC is acting out its role as the leader and protector (paternal figurehead) of Chinese citizens in earnest. Additionally, my survey of Chinese nationals helps us to better understand the PRC’s relationship with its people. Based on this qualitative data, it appears that the people of China believe that the PRC is acting in their best interests and that the PRC’s environmental regulations are helping. This study may help foreign investors, government, and non-government organizations better understand the PRC’s decision-making and relationship with their responsibilities, which could lead to improved strategy in the Chinese marketplace as well as more favorable negotiations with China.