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Thursday, March 17, 2005

More bad news for China

China's growth is dazzling, but the law of the big numbers dictates that this kind of growth takes its toll.

Already, we see an increasing number of accidents and reports that the country is too resource hungry. Others say that that fast growth is unsustainable.

The problem is, of course, that you can talk about bad news, and sooner or later, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the bad news is currently piling onto China.

Now comes Pan Yue of the ministry of the environment who states in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that the Chinese miracle will soon end. He outlines his case quite thoroughly.

About the wastage of resources he states that to produce goods worth US$10,000, for China needs seven times more resources than Japan, nearly six times more than the United States and, hear, hear, nearly three times more than India.

To another question he says that "currently, there are 1.3 billion people living in China, that's twice as many as 50 years ago. In 2020, there will be 1.5 billion people in China. Cities are growing but desert areas are expanding at the same time; habitable and usable land has been halved over the past 50 years."

Other tough news:

China loses between 8 and 15 percent of its gross domestic product because air and water are polluted - this doesn't include human cases.

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.

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.

Five of the ten most polluted cities worldwide are in China.

In the future, China "needs to resettle 186 million residents from 22 provinces and cities. However, the other provinces and cities can only absorb some 33 million people. That means China will have more than 150 million ecological migrants, or, environmental refugees.

This is scary news - what do you think? Or is it just some reporting for reporting's sake?

(By Asia Business Consulting)