Source: The Independent
The world is watching China’s economic surge with understandable awe – while politely and passively ignoring the country’s ecological disintegration.
When the journalist Jonathan Watts was a child, he was told, like so many of us: “If everyone in China jumps at exactly the same time, it will shake the earth off its axis and kill us all.” Three decades later, he stood in the grey sickly smog of Beijing, wheezing and hacking uncontrollably after a short run, and thought – the Chinese jump has begun. He had travelled 100,000 miles criss-crossing China, from the rooftop of Tibet to the deserts of Inner Mongolia and everywhere, he discovered that the Chinese state was embarked on a massive program of environmental destruction. It has turned whole rivers poisonous to the touch, rendered entire areas cancer-ridden, transformed a fertile area twice the size of Britain into desert – and probably even triggered the worst earthquake in living memory.