Written by redandexpert at her blog, The Paper Tiger, and reprinted with her express permission. Redandexpert will soon launch her own diaries here.
You know, I read a series of articles about government control of public discourse in China, and I think, maybe things haven’t changed that much since 1979, when the closest thing there was to public dissent was Democracy Wall, and we know how that turned out.
Then I read something like this stunning interview with China’s Deputy Minister of the Environment, Pan Yue, which I found via Dan Washburn’s Shanghai Diaries (thanks to JR for bringing this site to my attention). Pan Yue bluntly states that China’s current model for growth is not sustainable because of the environmental destruction it has wreaked. According to Pan:
This miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace. Acid rain is falling on one third of the Chinese territory, half of the water in our seven largest rivers is completely useless, while one fourth of our citizens does not have access to clean drinking water. One third of the urban population is breathing polluted air, and less than 20 percent of the trash in cities is treated and processed in an environmentally sustainable manner. Finally, five of the ten most polluted cities worldwide are in China. …
Because air and water are polluted, we are losing between 8 and 15 percent of our gross domestic product. And that doesn’t include the costs for health. Then there’s the human suffering: In Bejing alone, 70 to 80 percent of all deadly cancer cases are related to the environment. Lung cancer has emerged as the No. 1 cause of death.
Pan goes on to advocate a “green domestic product” and blast “influential officials, companies and local governments” who trash the environnment to line their own pockets.
All I can say is, wow…is there a Pan Yue fan club? Can I start one?
– By redandexpert at The Paper Tiger