China's growth - with its increasing energy demands - has had a dramatic impact on the environment.
The World Bank says 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China, which is also blamed for some of the air pollution in Japan and Korea.
China is the world's second biggest individual emitter of energy-related CO2 - but as a developing nation, it is not required by the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its emissions.
Water concerns are also growing. Rivers in the north are drying up, a situation blamed in part on the overuse of river water and the preponderence of dams. Urbanisation, on the other hand, has exacerbated flooding in certain areas by reducing drainage.