Ten stories you should have read on chinadialogue in 2012

We pick out the most popular and important stories published on chinadialogue from the past year, including environmental protests and a local revolt against an eco-toilet scheme.
Our top 10 list includes articles on environmental protests, health concerns about incinerators and a local revolt against an eco-toilet scheme. As well as our rundown on the most popular and important stories on chinadialogue in 2012, we’ve also produced a review of the past year’s environmental news in China.

1. Seeing China’s pollution from space
US scientists have used satellite data to assess a decade’s worth of PM 2.5 levels. The results are startling.

2. China’s food scares show the system is bust
Our lives – and the safety of our food – are determined by the structures we live in, wrote Tang Hao. Without systemic reform, there’s no point increasing enforcement powers.
The story of how dry toilets in a Chinese eco community were quietly replaced after three years of bad smells, health problems and maggots.
Guardian environment reporter Jonathan Watts has spent nine years in China covering everything from pollution protests to species extinction. About to leave for pastures new, he shared some parting thoughts.
China’s “clean” trash-burning plants have a dark underside. Stuffed with coal, many operate like fossil-fired power stations, only more laxly governed. See also: German bank targeted over Beijing waste plant.
Public outrage has halted a damaging cruise boat project on one of Tibet’s sacred lakes, but unrestrained tourism remains a threat.
As China’s new leaders prepared to take office, chinadialogue looked back at how the Communist Party’s environmental vocabulary has changed over the decades.
The decline of wild bees in China threatens more than just its apple and pear harvests, suggest pollination experts.
Within a few months of 2012, China saw three mass environmental protests. Could this prompt the government to improve public access to information and rule of law? See also: Shifang protests: a crisis of local rule, says Tang Hao.

And finally… one of the more unusual articles that proved very popular with readers…

10. How long can the caterpillar fungus craze last?
Sky-high prices have prompted a rush to collect caterpillar fungus in China, but quality discoveries are becoming rare. An ecological crisis is inevitable.