07 July 2007

China blames growing social unrest on anger over pollution

Interesting. US consumption of Chinese goods allows rapid growth in Chinese manufacturing... growth aided and abetted by US expertise and investment drawn to China by low cost labor and lax environmental standards. Guess what happens next... you'll never guess... surprise! Air quality in China declines, carbon emissions go up, acid rain follows the trade winds into Japan and South Korea.

So. We export US jobs, capital and manufacturing capacity, leave the pollution in China, and import cheap products for US consumers and corporate profits for US shareholders. Now we find that China has passed us in sheer volume of carbon emissions.

As an added bonus we get to act all shocked an' all about how China has a pollution problem... just as if we had nothing to do with it and derive no benefit from it. Now the Bush administration says: If China doesn't curb their carbon emissions why should we have to...? Oh, well. Maybe Bush didn't want to sign the Kyoto protocols anyway.

Serious bait and switch here.

Meanwhile China is coping with the results of being the low-rent industrial district of the world:

China blames growing social unrest on anger over pollution
Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

The head of China's environmental agency has blamed the rising number of riots, demonstrations and petitions across the country on public anger at pollution.

Echoing the language of the Cultural Revolution, Zhou Shengxian called for a "struggle" against polluters, and said the public refused to accept the increasing degradation of the environment.

His unusually outspoken comments underscore the frustration of state mandarins at local government officials who ignore environmental standards in order to attract investment, jobs and bribes.

Breakneck growth has turned China into a huge environmental disaster area. A soon-to-be-published World Bank report says some 500,000 people die each year as a result of pollution.

Beijing is trying to shift the economy on to a more sustainable development track. The state council - China's cabinet - tightened the water pollution law to require more testing, licensing and stiffer penalties, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

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