She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “Care for the livelihood of the common people + Care for the ecology + Care for history = Care for our future”.
Min Sun – China
She works for the magazine Camellia, Humanistic Geography.
Sun Min comes from a family of teachers who trace their ancestry to the cadets at Jiangwu Hall in Yunnan Province during the 1911 revolution. After graduating from senior high school, she lived and worked in a production team in a village for three years learning about rural society and the livelihood of peasants in China.
After high school Sun continued her studies in the Chinese Department in Yunnan University. She then worked in a cultural department in Yunnan Province and started her research work in the mountain areas. Her investigation includes the socio-history, customs and oral histories of the ethnic minorities in Yunnan Province.
One of the key findings of her study was that tradition is integrally linked with the land and civilization of a people. With the onslaught of economic development Sun Min used her magazine Camellia-Human Geography to address issues of environmental damage, loss of tradition etc. Concern for the livelihood of the common people and ecology and respect for history along with her conscience are the guiding principles for Sun as a researcher and writer.
In 1997, she conducted an investigation into the pollution problem of 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 flooding in 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 devastating effects on local ecology. The feature article “The Forbidden Forest” was then written.
During an international conference held in Li Jiang in 2000, Sun made a presentation entitled “Forests and Our Tradition” which was very well received. Our deteriorating environment has reflected an alarming fact that the predominant concept of development in our society is so obsolete that only economic growth is stressed.
Economic development, especially the escalation of GDP, has become the only parameter in assessing the performance of a local government. This has driven her to devote huge efforts on the discourse of economic development and environmental protection, and the concern for sustainable development.
The wave of economic advancement has swept every corner of the mainland, and created increasing numbers of problems. The expansion of cities means spoiling of land and pollution of rivers. Everything is dispensable under the name of economic advancement. This has damaged the living conditions of local inhabitants and their traditional heritage.
In a bustling village of the Yi nationality in Yunnan Province, Sun witnessed how local inhabitants favored the development of tourism at the expense of losing regard for their culture; and how the most hidden part of their cultural heritage was exposed to hundreds of camera lenses.
On the other hand, Sun was impressed by a meeting record of a village in the plateau known as Shangri-la. The record is full of the signatures of villagers – red fingerprints. They expressed their concern for environmental protection, and pledged to act together to preserve their tradition in the course of development. The curse of development is now hanging on their neck.
There are two distinguished young people from NGOs conducting poverty assistance projects in Yunnan. With their projects, they wish to present to the villagers that there are different modes of development, and that development is viable without sacrificing the environment or losing one’s regard for culture.
The local government’s obsolete concept of development, aggressive and wealthy developers, as well as the greedy and powerful people – these are typical development obstacles faced by these two young people and others in western parts in China. Sun helped them to write a special feature “Jisha, We All have a Dream” which appeared in the first issue of 2002 of the magazine Camellia, Humanistic Geography. The report enjoyed a positive response. She also wrote in the magazine Forum that argues for respect towards the land of local inhabitants.
In 2004 Sun took part in the “Green Basin” project to investigate into the social impact of the migration program consequent to the construction of the big dams. Hydropower generation has been developed in Yunnan Province for two decades. But the sight of the earliest migrants, affected by the project, scavenging at the power station deeply shocked her.
According to the migrants, they had no extravagant hopes, but just wanted to be heard. In the prevailing discourse, the mainstream media were promoting the myth of the complete profitability of hydropower. In 2004 the proposal for Nujiang power station was also on the agenda; newspapers reporting repeatedly that Nujiang dwellers were looking forward to becoming wealthy.
But the voice of the dwellers themselves was not heard – because they had been deprived of the right to be informed. Through this project, Sun and some Nujiang peasants came to the reservoir area of Lancang River for investigation.
They discovered that apart from poverty, the problems faced by migrants could not be solved by simply re-locating them. The process of migration is followed by disintegration of traditional social bondage and of traditional culture.
Cautious measures should be taken. Otherwise, unnecessary social turmoil would result, and the whole of society would be the ultimate victim.
Owing to this belief, Sun had argued fiercely with an arrogant postgraduate from Tsinghua University who claimed that it is inevitable to sacrifice a handful of people for the sake of economic development. Sun told him that if development puts the well being of the deprived ones into jeopardy, such development is absolutely questionable.
The term “science and technology” in China always puts emphasis only on technology. Science is neglected. We always take it for granted that every problem can be solved by means of technology. But in fact, no space has been left in the construction plan for the real owners of the land to have their views expressed.
Sun considers herself as simply a listener who wishes to represent those peasants deprived of the discursive power to speak and gain support from society. However she has paid a price for her listening, her outspokenness, sympathy, goodwill and compassion – a warning by an authoritative department and prohibition from attending academic conferences abroad.
Sun Min has a low-profile life. Her writing is forceful, her thinking acute and compassionate. She wants to assist those deprived of discursive power to have their voices heard, and to let the idealists who give society a boost of revitalization appropriate media attention. (1000PeaceWomen).
Sorry, I can’t disambiguate Sun Min in the Internet from other persons with the same name to get more informations.