Excerpt from David Kilgour's Speech:
Permit me therefore to start with some indicators about the overall state of human health across China today. The major source is a long article by Joseph Hahn and Jim Yardley carried in The New York Times on August, 26, 2007 under the heading, "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes".
Among their important observations:
Nearly half a billion Chinese lack access to safe drinking water. Their country has only one fifth as much water per capita as, for example, the US, but many factories and farms dump waste into surface water with few legal or other consequences.
The Ministry of Health in China itself admits that ambiant air pollution alone causes hundreds of thousands of deaths yearly. Only one per cent of the nation's city dwellers, add the jounalists, are breathing air considered safe by the European Union. Rapidly expanding car ownership and low grade gasoline have now made vehicles the leading source of air pollution in major cities across China.
One coastline of China is so polluted that a section of it no longer sustains life.
Much of the world outside China has become pre-occupied with global warming just as China has begun the most robust phase of its industrial revolution, which inevitably means that air and water pollution there will become significantly worse.
China's environmental problems are becoming those of the world. Japan and South Korea, for example, are now hit by sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from coal-fired plants in China. Coal provides about two-thirds of China's energy and it already burns more of it than Europe, Japan and the US combined.
Leaders in Beijing note that multinational companies building manufacturing facilities in their country are partners in degrading the natural environment there by dumping waste in rivers and pumping smoke into the sky.
Last spring, a World Bank study done with China's environmental agency concluded that outdoor air pollution was already causing 350,000-400,000 preventable deaths a year, with indoor air pollution contributing to the deaths of another 350,000 persons, for a total in the 750,000 range a year. You'll recall that this part of the report was removed from the published version of the study, but received wide coverage outside China regardless.
Since the Hu-Wen government was formed in 2003 and the commitments then from them as president and prime minister both have clearly failed in this policy area. Many experts, the piece continues, have concluded that "China cannot go green in other words without political change."
Hahn-Yardley conclude their piece:"The government rarely uses market-oriented incentives to reduce pollution. Officials have rejected proposals to introduce surcharges on electricity and coal to reflect the true cost to the environment. The state still controls the price of fuel oil, including gasoline, subsidizing the cost of driving...at least two leading environmental organizers have been prosecuted in recent weeks, and several others have received sharp warnings to tone down their criticism of local officials..." One reason given was the need for social stability before the Olympic Games.
In short, unregulated capitalism has run amok across China for almost three decades and is doing terrible harm to the health and living conditions of its hard-working and long-suffering people.What is the present condition of health care systems in their country to help them in their time of great need? (more)
China to Move 4 Million from Three Gorges
Reuters via Epoch Times
|Oct 11, 2007|
BEIJING—China is to relocate at least 4 million more people from the Three Gorges Dam reservoir area in the next 10 to 15 years to protect its "ecological safety", state news agencies said on Thursday.
The $25 billion dam near Chongqing, in southwest
They cite erosion and landslides on steep hills around the dam, conflicts over land shortages and "ecological deterioration caused by irrational development".
The dam, whose construction flooded 116 towns and hundreds of cultural sites and displaced 1.4 million people, is a work in progress, but state media have said it could be completed by the end of 2008, just after the
"More than 4 million people currently living in northeast and southwest
No details about the relocation were available, but Yu Yuanmu, vice mayor of Chongqing, was quoted as saying the ecological safety of the area was at risk from the growing population.
Environmentalists have long criticised the project, saying silt trapped behind the dam is causing erosion and warning that the dam's reservoir will turn into a cesspool of raw sewage and industrial chemicals backing onto Chongqing.
The State Council had approved a plan which was of "great importance to the environmental protection" of the area, Jiang Yong, director of the Chongqing development plan bureau, was quoted by the China Daily as saying.
"One of the key elements in Chongqing's new development plan is to further our efforts to protect the environment of the reservoir area since the environment here has changed greatly due to the Three Gorges project and massive population relocation."
Relocation has also been a flashpoint for unrest over the dam. Many object to being moved away from their communities and livelihoods, and petitioners have accused local governments of pocketing much of their compensation.