Back in July, CNN.com ran a story entitled “Green fury over China’s golfing Hawaii,” which looked at golf development on Hainan Island — especially the massive Mission Hills project there — from an environmental perspective. Reporter Sam Sheringham interviewed me for the story, along with representatives from Greenpeace China, the Golf Environment Organization and Mission Hills itself, which has this to say:
“Mission Hills has always strived to balance economic benefits to the community with proper stewardship of the environment,” Dr Ken Chu, Group Executive Vice Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Mission Hills Group, told CNN by email.
“By incorporating low-density development with vast open-space greenbelts, our current project in Haikou has transformed a barren, lava-rock landscape into an economically productive community.”
Their claims are backed up by the local government, with spokesman Mr. Zhao telling CNN that the location of the complex followed “careful” investigation.
“Therefore, the project will not pollute the environment,” he said.
Greenpeace says it plans to investigate. Read the whole CNN story here.
For some backstory, you may want to check out my Financial Times Weekend Magazine piece, which got this whole conversation started, and also the Foreign Policy magazine photo essay I helped produce with photojournalist Ryan Pyle. In recent months, as part of Mission Hills’ media blitz following the opening of its Hainan facility in March, several media outlets — including the BBC and the Wall Street Journal — have published stories about the island development. Unfortunately, none of the pieces has probed too deeply (or shown much interest in the art of the follow-up question).
So, I’ll leave you with a nice piece from The Guardian‘s Jonathan Watts, which first appeared in April. It’s called “All the tees in China: Golf boom threatens rainforest” and focuses on a controversial golf development in a Hainan national park. The accompanying video — well worth watching — is embedded below.