China: Min Sun

Care for the livelihood of the common people + Care for the ecology + Care for history = Care for our future.

— Min Sun

Sun Min’s concern has been to draw attention to those whose voices are silenced, particularly ethnic minority communities. She also works on tradition and ecological destruction, media and freedom of speech. As editor of Camellia – Humanistic Geography, she is able to raise these issues effectively.

Sun Min comes from a family of teachers. After graduating from university she worked on the socio-history, customs and oral histories of ethnic minorities in the Yunnan Province of China. As editor of Camellia – Humanistic Geography, Sun Min lent her voice to discussing the adverse effects of development, such as pollution, deforestation and loss of tradition, at a time when the mainstream discourse in China was about the market values. With her passion and keen sense of humanity, she was involved in the campaign for environmental protection. Her writing has mainly focused on the different modes of development, and the importance of not sacrificing one’s cultural esteem for the sake of economic development. In 1997 Sun Min conducted an investigation into the pollution problem of the Lake Dian basin and wrote a feature article “From a Lake of Life to a Lake of Death,” which probed the rise of an urban city at the expense of a plateau lake. After the serious floods of October 1998, she interviewed the Bureau of Forestry at the middle and upper reaches of Yangtze River to look into the history of deforestation and its effects on local ecology. She then wrote a feature article entitled: “The Forbidden Forest.” In 2004 she took part in the “Green Basin” project, which investigated the social impact of migration caused by big dams. In a series of investigations into the Lancang River, she noted that apart from poverty, the problems faced by migrants could not be solved by simply re-locating them. A lack of attention to detail can result in social turmoil.

Camellia – Humanistic Geography