Yesterday, I met with the Xi’an Environmental Monitoring Center in Shaanxi Province. My interview strategy has generally been to reach out to the provincial Environmental Protection Bureaus (EPBs) as well as to the Environmental Monitoring Centers (EMCs) to better understand environmental data monitoring, reporting and verification challenges. Without giving away too many of the details, it seems that the provincial EMCs are trying to collect quality data, but really are at the mercy of local-level monitoring centers to collect good data. Provincial EMCs don’t really have the power or capacity to enforce strict data controls – they have to accept whatever the lower levels provide them. I was struck by the 16 words that serve as their mantras posted in the entrance of their office:

Rational Agency (布局合理)

Reliable data (数据可靠)

Sensitive transmission (传导灵敏)

Effective monitoring and management (监管有效)