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Sentinels for the Environment

Birdwatchers in Taiwan and Hong Kong
Frédéric Keck
p. 43-52


This article compares the modes of organisation and engagement of birdwatching societies in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Tracing their origins to American, Japanese, and British models of nature conservation, it shows the growing involvement of Chinese citizens in the observation and protection of birds. Asking how birds can be used as “flagship species” to hold together environmental movements in a sustainable and constructive way, the article proposes the concept of “sentinel” to capture the mix of democratic environmental concern and a military model of territory mapping.

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Bibliographical reference

Frédéric Keck, « Sentinels for the Environment », China Perspectives, 2015/2 | 2015, 43-52.

Electronic reference

Frédéric Keck, « Sentinels for the Environment », China Perspectives [Online], 2015/2 | 2015, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 16 December 2018. URL :

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About the author

Frédéric Keck

Frédéric Keck is a researcher at the Laboratoire d'anthropologie sociale, and the head of the research department of the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris.Musée du Quai Branly, 222 rue de l’Université, 75343 Paris Cedex 07 (

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