Wednesday, July 11, 2007

China Still Big on Slave Labor, Pollution

NewsMax: Charles R. Smith
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Progress is often hailed in China as a shining example of how the West and the Chinese communists are cooperating.

However, progress in China has a brutal price in the forms of oppression, slave labor, and unchecked pollution.

The truth about the Chinese pollution problem reached the World Bank which decided to write a detailed report. However, in true form to covering up bad economic news, the World Bank decided to delete key portions of the report at the request of the Chinese communists.

According to the Financial Times of London, information about Chinese pollution has been removed from a World Bank report to avoid "social unrest." "Missing from this report are the research project's findings that high air-pollution levels in Chinese cities is leading to the premature deaths of 350,000-400,000 people each year. A further 300,000 people die prematurely each year from exposure to poor air indoors, according to advisers, but little discussion of this issue survived in the report because it was outside the ambit of the Chinese ministries which sponsored the research," states the Times.

So the price of sending jobs overseas and driving to the bottom to find cheap goods at major retail outlets costs nearly a million Chinese citizens their lives each year.

This little brutal detail, cut from the World Bank report, is just the beginning. The report details a nation in trouble because it is moving ever deeper into a soup of dangerous chemicals. In short, China is turning itself into a giant Love Canal of pollution.

According to the World Bank report, or at least the parts the communist government could not censor, China is now the largest source of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the world. The winds may blow softly in Beijing but the wind carries itself around the globe.

The dangerous air pollution levels in China are shared globally with the rest of the world, including the United States.

The facts about Chinese pollution are compounded by the financial short-sighted nature of the one ruling party. China has access to massive amounts of U.S. cash, having exceeded a $200 billion dollars trade imbalance last year. China has nearly a trillion dollars of U.S. treasury bonds. However, instead of cleaning up their own back yards, the Chinese government has seen fit to spend billions on new military hardware, and a gigantic military space program.

Such simple things like fresh water are in short supply. In China, nearly 30 percent of the population lack basic sanitary facilities. One study cited by the World Bank report noted the lack of basic sanitation was beyond critical. "Nearly one-fifth of the surveyed population did not have access to safe sanitation and hence relied on defecation in the open," states the report.

The bottom line is pretty clear. While Beijing buys fancy jet-fighters from Russia and pumps billions into nuclear tipped missiles, 400 million Chinese citizens have no bathrooms short of going outside or dumping the classic chamber pot.

"Two-thirds of the rural population is without piped water, which contributes to diarrhea disease and cancers of the digestive system . . . In the period between 2001 and 2005, on average about 54 percent of the seven main rivers in China contained water deemed unsafe for human consumption . . . Some 300–500 million people in rural areas do not have access to piped water and are exposed to severe health risks related to polluted drinking water," noted the World Bank report.

Even the Chinese government is aware of the growing problem with fresh water and poor sanitation. "According to the primary investigation, more than 300 million people in rural areas cannot get safe drinking water," states the annual report from the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources.

Poor sanitation has a great affect on water quality but even worse is the cesspool of chemicals found in Chinese drinking water. According to World Health Organization report, 15 million people in China use drinking water from groundwater wells with deadly arsenic concentration levels.

"Water pollution has penetrated beyond infecting the surface water found in lakes, rivers, and streams, and over half of the cities now have polluted groundwater," states the report.

One study cited by the World Bank report considered risk factors of liver cancer around the Nansi Lake in Shandong Province. They showed that people who drank lake water, touched lake water, or ate fish were more likely to get liver cancer than people who drank large quantities of alcohol. "Liver cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in rural China," noted the report.

Some of the pollution does not stay in China but is exported as products to the rest of the world. For example, the FDA has stalled the import of five types of seafood from China following concerns about the uncontrolled use of antibiotics in high-intensity fish farming.

The FDA has also raised concerns about heavy-metal contamination of agricultural products.

China is now the world's leading supplier of seafood, shipping $1.9 billion worth of fish and shellfish to the United States last year, making it the third biggest foreign supplier in the U.S. market.

Clearly, polluted China is a very sensitive issue to the ruling Communist Party. They pressed and obtained the cooperation of the World Bank in covering up a growing ecological disaster. The Communist rulers know that pollution has the potential to bring political change and destroy the carefully crafted economy. It could also sweep them from power since they have control over every aspect of Chinese life. The Communist Party fears that the people of China will learn the truth about why they are dying.

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