02 January 2008

Chinese Communism--Can China Ever Recover? Can the Rest of the World?

The story of Communist China is a story of ecological devastation on a monumental scale. The destruction being inflicted by the CCP and its policies upon China--and neighboring countries--is so severe as to require most of China's cash reserves to remediate. If it is even possible to repair.
In a mere two and a half decades, China has awakened from Maoist stagnancy to become the world's manufacturer. Among the planet's 193 nations, it is now first in production of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal; it produces half the world's cameras and nearly a third of its TVs, and by 2015 may produce the most cars. It boasts factories that can accommodate 200,000 workers, and towns that make 60 percent of the world's buttons, half the world's silk neckties, and half the world's fireworks, respectively.

...Its appetite for raw materials drives up international commodity prices and shipping rates while its middle class, projected to jump from fewer than 100 million people now to 700 million by 2020, is learning the gratifications of consumerism. China is by a wide margin the leading importer of a cornucopia of commodities, including iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and nickel. It is the world's biggest consumer of coal, refrigerators, grain, cell phones, fertilizer, and television sets. It not only leads the world in coal consumption, with 2.5 billion tons in 2006, but uses more than the next three highest-ranked nations—the United States, Russia, and India—combined.

...the Mao era's ecological devastation pales next to that of China's current industrialization. A fourth of the country is now desert. More than three-fourths of its forests have disappeared. Acid rain falls on a third of China's landmass, tainting soil, water, and food. Excessive use of groundwater has caused land to sink in at least 96 Chinese cities, producing an estimated $12.9 billion in economic losses in Shanghai alone. Each year, uncontrollable underground fires, sometimes triggered by lightning and mining accidents, consume 200 million tons of coal, contributing massively to global warming. A miasma of lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other elements of coal-burning and car exhaust hovers over most Chinese cities; of the world's 20 most polluted cities, 16 are Chinese.

...Acid rain caused by China's sulfur-dioxide emissions severely damages forests and watersheds in Korea and Japan and impairs air quality in the United States. Every major river system flowing out of China is threatened with one sort of cataclysm or another, including pollution (Amur), damming (Mekong, Salween), diverting (Brahmaputra), and melting of the glacial source (Mekong, Salween, Brahmaputra). The surge in untreated waste and agricultural runoff pouring into the Yellow and China Seas has caused frequent fish die-offs and red-tide outbreaks, and overfishing is endangering many ocean species. ... the planet's deforestation problem is largely one of illicit logging, and China is the world's leading importer of illegally logged wood. Chinese wood purchases have also helped finance armed conflicts conducted by such international pariahs as Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Burma's military government, and the now-deposed regime of Liberia's Charles Taylor.

...The largest source of that pollution is the billion tons of coal China burns per year, more than virtually all the world's developed nations combined. The International Energy Agency reported in November 2006 that global coal consumption had increased as much in the previous 3 years as in the 23 before that, and that China was responsible for 90 percent of the increase. It operates more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and puts a new one into operation every four to seven days. Few possess scrubbers that could limit emissions, and those that do tend not to use them, since scrubbers drive up the plants' energy and maintenance costs. China's central government has issued some fairly strict regulations to limit plant emissions, but they are rarely enforced because of corruption...

The government of China wishes to export its "enlightened way of life" to Africa, South America, and much of the rest of Asia and the East Pacific. Clearly the ecological devastation China is creating within its "greater economic sphere" exceeds anything that "global warming" could ever produce in the developed western world--whether in the next century or in several dozen centuries. China has destroyed in a few decades what western industry would take thousands of years to destroy--given the strict environmental regulations in the west that are generally enforced.

But environmental pollution may not be the worst type of pollution being foisted upon the Chinese people and other peoples who are falling under the control of China's corrupt and oppressive CCP. The mental straightjacket such subjects of the CCP must wear is even worse than the physical pollution that is killing their bodies. The subjugation of the mind and spirit by the authoritarian police state destroys hope, even within the small proportion of Chinese who are benefiting from the current economic "boom."

While material improvements suggest the possibility of increased freedoms and opportunities of other types, relative material affluence also can increase a sense of personal worthiness--an expectation of something better. Revolutions tend to occur among the better educated, intellectual-leaning children of the first generation to experience a better life.

Tiananmen Square was a very premature gambit for liberty by students and young people who sensed an opening in the atmosphere of oppression. It failed because the students did not understand how to bring about change in an authoritarian system that had no mercy. Had Gandhi attempted to liberate China from the CCP rather than liberating India from the British, he would have ended an organ donor and a failed liberator. One must understand the system you are attempting to change.

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Blogger Towards infinity said...

Much of the ecologic problems of China in this growth of sorts is the "scorched earth" approach of foreign investors. Industrialization spreads radially from the centers and when a location is not cheap enough anymore the factory is built farther from the developed centers where labor is still cheap and regulations are absent or easily shaken off by bribery. This allows to completely disregard environmental and developmental issues.

You might like the book "The Coming Collapse of China"
The Communist party "knows how to suppress but it no longer has the power to lead"


Wednesday, 02 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting point, Curious. I agree that the CCP does not have the power to "lead" in the truest sense of the word. It has no vision.

The CCP has a large army and security forces. No one is in any position within China to confront the CCP--certainly not foreigners.

The prosperity of modern China depends mainly upon the influx of foreign capital. Many of the "foreign investors" are ethnic Chinese from Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, etc. Hong Kong investors were formerly "foreign investors."

But profitable investment and manufacturing does not necessarily involve ecological disaster such as you see in China. Something is badly wrong with government planners and regulators there.

The CCP can certainly provide an ample flow of transplant organs for the local and world markets. It can cow Google and Yahoo into collaborating in the suppression of dissidents on the internet.

If CCP officials are easily corrupted by bribes, I suppose in a way that is the fault of the foreign investor. But the despoiling of China began during Mao's rule--under Mao's encouragement. What we have now is pure greed by the ruling class.

The only conceivable end to this combination of greed for money/power and rapid military buildup by the CCP and its military, is war.

Will China break up into warlord factions before it invades Taiwan and Eastern Siberia? Time will tell.

Wednesday, 02 January, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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