Face Masks on Peking University Statues Protest Beijing Smog

Images of statues of some Chinese intellectuals in Peking University wearing masks have been wildly circulated online. This idea was figured out by some students from Peking University, as a “silent” protest against heavy smog.

Statues in Peking University wear masks for heavy smog

From Sina Weibo:

@头条新闻: Beijing Heavy Smog; Peking University Statues “Wear” Face Masks — Since February 20, the national meteorological center has for six days straight issued smog alert, and Beijing has already spent many days in the grey smog. With continuous smog in the “rain” season, pedestrians on the road are about to be overwhelmed with sorrow. With such pollution, even the statues an sculptures in Peking University “cannot take it anymore”, one after another donning face masks. Pictures: http://t.cn/8Fm7koR

From QQ & NetEase :

Beijing Severe Smog; Face Masks Put on Statues Throughout Peking University

[February] 24, Beijing, the fourth day of heavy smog besieging [the city], it is no longer news that pedestrians and even pet dogs are wearing face masks. To their surprise, on the Peking University campus, people discovered statues of Cai Yuanpei, Li Dazhao, Miguel de Cervantes and other scholars of the past with masks also put on them.

Statues in Peking University wear masks for heavy smog

Beijing severe smog, face masks placed on statues and busts in Peking University. Picture is of Li Dazhao’s statue.

Statues in Peking University wear masks for heavy smog

Picture is Cai Yuanpei’s statue.

Statues in Peking University wear masks for heavy smog

Picture is Cervantes’s statue.

Statues in Peking University wear masks for heavy smog

Picture is of the statue of distinguished Chinese contemporary economist Chen Daisun.

Comments from QQ, NetEase & Sina Weibo :

~\(^o^)/~:

Wearing [face masks] is pointless. It might help for the moment, but it doesn’t solve the problem! Only by solving the root cause can the problem be taken care of!

Ψ秌兲キ絡木:

Students occasionally playing pranks for fun, no big deal, and it should be tolerated; moreover, this kind of liveliness [humor] of the students should be preserved.

星光灿烂:

This is a humanized action [an unoffensive and easy to appreciate act], and is worth promoting, to remind and awaken people [to the seriousness of the problem].

涛声依旧:

Befitting its reputation as a university of talented people! Controlling China’s problem of smog will depend on you guys! Our hopes rest with you!

特💤:

The statue would collapse if they breathe the smog without wearing face masks.

第一时间:

Now this is the Peking University spirit!

否定一切2013:

It is the growing gap between the rich and poor bringing about an excessive expansion of the economy that is the root of pollution. If wealth is more evenly distributed, then a smaller overall economy is needed to support an even larger population. If wealth is distributed extremely unevenly, then the size of the economy must be expanded in order to ensure the basic incomes of the lower classes, as well as the satisfy the higher classes’ greed for wealth. If this kind of enlarging of the economy surpasses the environment’s ability to accommodate it, then serious consequences will form [such as severe pollution].

zsj680324 [网易四川省成都市手机网友]:

A silent protest…

网易上海市手机网友 ip:180.174.*.*:

Peking University students are indeed biting [incisive, piercing in their social commentary through this act], and this is the power of knowledge, both expressing respect towards [historical] teachers as well as a giving the government a reminder [message]. Impressive, truly impressive.

网易江苏省无锡市手机网友 ip:49.66.*.*:

Google’s satellite map is no longer useful.

yijun126 [网易湖南省长沙市网友]:

Short-term unscrupulous development comes with a serious price, and this price is irreversible. Now everything [past worries] has been validated, the harm also gradually becoming apparently, and those who suffer the harm have always been the [common] people.
What people rely on for their existence is the environment. When you’ve ruined the environment, what use is there in having all that money? This is against the natural law of survival and development.
If the country’s development does not plan for the long-term and does not take responsibility for the future, then it will result in “draining the pond to get all the fish” [unsustainability], and the it will be about digging our own graves.

Coach_Chi:

The consequences of economic development.

Jay阿菋:

Such severe smog is clearly not a problem with motor vehicles. Beijing began restricting [motor vehicles] long ago, but what use has it been? The main problem is in factory pollution, while motor vehicles are just “one hair among 9 oxen” [a tiny part, factor]. Instead of focusing on the main reason and needlessly restricting the private cars of the ordinary common people, government officials, can you shake up [manage/control] the factories? Regulate them?

养蝈蝈的老翟:

Humorous satire. With the environment currently so bad, just who should take responsibility and who should pay for it…? Only the ordinary common people will, because they live here…

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  • The FRED FONG

    cough cough….from my sofa

    • Mighty曹

      Flu Manchu cough?

      • YourSupremeCommander

        Flu Manchu – damn that was good!

        • Mighty曹

          Let me borrow your helmet to visit Beijing.

          • YourSupremeCommander

            I can’t let people see me like this.

          • Mighty曹

            Bro, you can wear my cap for the time being.

          • YourSupremeCommander

            Not so sure about this look, feels kinda gay.

          • Guest

            That’s not too bad. Just don’t be wearing this.

          • Mighty曹

            Or this.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I just realised. He has no nose.

          • Rick in China

            I didn’t realize legos had penises…new model?

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I am guessing those ones are for adults to play with.

          • Mighty曹

            He doesn’t have to worry about the smog then.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            He may not smell the foul air but he will taste it!

          • Kai

            He’s a mouthbreather then, which means no nose hair or snot to provide that wee bit of filtering for particulate matter. Not good.

          • Mighty曹

            Breathing through the mouth causes drying of the gum, which promotes gum diseases. Not good at all.

          • linette lee
          • Paul Schoe

            Why not? You might meet some very nice people :-)

          • Mighty曹

            Indeed.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            The looks like a multi-coloured rubber on your head.

          • DavidisDawei

            This site has had some characters…
            What ever happened to Gay Boy from Canada(forget his screen name)?
            Maybe Posting under a different name?

          • YourSupremeCommander

            Something like gayboi or gayazn, or some shitbird names like that.

          • mr.wiener

            Gayazboi, the Toronto twink. A potato queen from the north.

          • Mighty曹

            Very descriptive. lol

          • mr.wiener

            I’m sure he’d never been to Regina.

          • Rick in China

            I believe only 11 or 12 people in the world have..

          • Mighty曹

            LOL!! I actually have a friend who lives there and she says it’s pronounced exactly like that.

          • linette lee
          • linette lee

            hahah….lol. You are good!

  • Mighty曹

    This is one of the best protests I’ve ever seen. Silent yet the visual speaks loudly. The effectiveness remains to be seen. Let’s hope people’s opinions and apathy regarding pollution is swayed by these simple images.

    • Eileithyia

      if they get catch, China will still jail them.

      • Mighty曹

        They can say they were protecting (not protesting) the statues.

        • Progressive Dubstep

          你的名字真事creative mighty 曹

          • Mighty曹

            我也很喜欢你的名字 but what’s with the Nazism?

            Anyway, I like anything ‘Progressive’ (House, Trance, Dubstep)
            Skrillex is more hardcore but I like him too.

          • Rick in China

            That’s an amusing line, I like yer name but what’s with the nazism..

            “I like your but what’s with the nazism?”

          • Progressive Dubstep

            you listen to dubstep too? are you chinese?

          • Mighty曹

            Don’t just listen. Get into it. Try the free Wavosaur sound mixer.

      • Kai

        There may have been a time where that could’ve happened, but thank god its extremely unlikely now. Students putting face masks on campus statues to protest a well-known and recognized pollution issue? Funny students have pranked worse in China. Just about everyone appreciates this for what it is. They won’t get jailed.

        • don mario

          why not? if they suddenly decide this is going against the party mantra and could be considered a threat then why wouldn’t they start doing people for it? there is no rule of law, they make the rules up as they go along.

          • Kai

            Anything is possible. The CIA could bust down my door and arrest me for making a crack at the expense of the US government. I’m speaking in the realm of prevailing attitudes and practice. Would you wager that these students would be jailed for this?

          • don mario

            like i already said, this could constitute some kind of threat to the party. if it gains momentum, why wouldn’t it be considered as a threat? its a protest, and its not protesting japan. that is already crossing a line.

            why would the us government do that? you have free speech in america.

            pretty funny example though as a chinese person was sent to jail for making a joke about the party on twitter.

          • Kai

            Like I said, “this could” = “anything is possible” but the question is if you actually think it is or that the Party would see it that way. If you do, then maybe there’s something interesting in what shapes your perceptions of the modern Party, but otherwise, it’s an “anything is possible” situation.

            The complaints about pollution have already gained momentum. Chinese people bitch about it online and in the news. There is no censorship of it though people suspect the official figures are “tamed” due to their general skepticism with regards to the government.

            Chinese people protest about all sorts of things every year. There are thousands of “mass incidents”, the statistic which is often marveled at in Western reports about protests in China. I think you’re a bit too eager to think the Chinese government is only okay with protests against Japan and nothing else. Interestingly, the Chinese government also fears protests against Japan. That you think any protest not about Japan is “already crossing a line” is melodramatic, and I hope it was intentionally so, because otherwise it shows a really flawed perception of the Chinese government on your part.

            The government isn’t irrationally ideological, it’s actually remarkably pragmatic and exploitive in tolerating or cracking down on public sentiments and expressions. So I think you’re oversimplifying something that would be more interesting if seriously beheld in its actual complexity.

            I used the CIA example to illustrate “anything is possible”. I think current attitudes and practice by the Chinese government makes the government jailing these kids for this is “extremely unlikely”. That’s my educated opinion. If someone asks why wouldn’t the Chinese government jail them, I have to fairly acknowledge that “anything is possible”, just like the CIA arresting me (and I think it has been proven that the CIA violates US citizens’ privacy precisely to intercept and potentially stop what they consider threats). I don’t think the US government based on current attitudes and practices would do so, just like I don’t think the Chinese government would do so for this.

            There are gross injustices committed by the Chinese government, but think it is entirely reasonable and more accurate to believe the Chinese government wouldn’t jail these kids for this prank than to believe it would. Feel free to argue the opposite if you want.

          • don mario

            i think when it comes to perceived threats to the party you should expect the worst. if they want to send a message or if this sort of thing gains steam, it is entirely within reason to expect people to be locked up to squash it, when comparing to the brutal things they have done in the past.

            believing these things won’t or don’t happen because you don’t see it happen on a daily basis or it has never effected you is naive in my opinion.

          • Kai

            I don’t see some college kids doing a prank or humorous “symbolic protest” over a topical issue like pollution as a “threat to the Party”. I don’t see the Party overall reacting in such a paranoid fashion either, even if even I could argue there were instances where they were. That’s my read.

            Insisting on assuming the worst is also naive in my opinion. If people did that, there’d never be any progress against tyranny.

          • don mario

            nonsense, it is all that you can assume if you know how this party functions.

          • Kai

            So you disagree with my disagreement with Eileithyia that these students getting jailed for this is “extremely unlikely”?

            So what do you think? That it is likely? If you think it is possible, your disagreement with me is misdirected because I didn’t say “impossible”, I said “extremely unlikely”. If you disagree with “extremely”, then please explain to me what adjective you think is more accurate and your reasoning for it.

            Otherwise, we both think we know something about how the Party functions but apparently disagree on what they would likely do in this situation. I believe it is unlikely that they would persecute these kids for this prank over this kind of public issue that is not considered sensitive given the widespread domestic public reporting on the issue without noticable government efforts to quash it or discussion of it.

            I think i’ve repeated myself 3x times. What exactly is your disagreement with me?

            Does the Party perceive this as a threat? I don’t think so.

            Is this thing going to gain steam? What do you mean by gaining steam? That more people are going to talk about pollution than the masses that already are? That more students are going to put face masks on their campus statues of historical scholars? That this is going to evolve into a second Tiananmen?

            If it evolves into a second Tiananmen, the government is no longer responding to a student prank and the threat that is being perceived is no longer directly related to the act of putting face masks on statues. My position that the Party doesn’t see this student prank as a threat and are unlikely to jail these kids remains valid. So what point are you trying to make me acknwoledge that I haven’t already acknwoledged?

          • don mario

            i do not agree with you because i think the party are a brutal group of thugs, they do not have a rule of law-which means they can do whatever the fuck they like, is this such a hard point to grasp? their whole system revolves around eliminating threats to maintain their grip of power. and based on what they have done in the past YES this sort of thing is likely to occur.

            kai, please get over yourself. it is quite an obvious point, if you continue to disagree that is fair enough but don’t drag this out into a needless essay just because i wont change my opinion to align with yours.

          • Kai

            Have you stopped to consider it’s a hard point for me to grasp because what you’re saying has no relevance to actually disagreeing with what I’ve said?

            My response to Eileithyia was pretty simple, that I think it “extremely unlikely” that China will jail the students for this.

            You then responded to me with a “why not” and stated your reasons for why the Chinese government could jail them (decide this is going against the party mantra, consider it a threat, and there is no rule of law, they make the rules up as they go along).

            My reply:

            Anything is possible. […] I’m speaking in the realm of prevailing attitudes and practice. Would you wager that these students would be jailed for this?

            It should be abundantly clear by that point that my belief that it would be “extremely unlikely” for the students to be jailed for this is based on what I think the Party would do given this specific instance based on what I consider “prevailing attitudes and practice”. “Prevailing” means what usually happens (or in this case, doesn’t happen).

            Given my familiarity with China and the fact that there are tons of protests that are far less humorous and far more subversive to actual government and Party power than some kids making a symbolic comment about air pollution, I think prevailing attitudes and practice would make it “extremely unlikely” that these kids would be jailed for this.

            You mentioned that a Chinese person was sent to jail for making a joke about the Party on Twitter. Let’s take that as a data point. Here are many other data points: Chinese people making tons of jokes about the Party on Twitter and Weibo and other Chinese sites and social networks, all without being jailed.

            I think this is relevant to what can be considered “prevailing attitudes and practice”. Therefore, I consider it “extremely unlikely” that these kids would be jailed. You however say “based on what they have done in the past YES this sort of thing [jailing the kids] is likely to occur”.

            An accurate, defensible statement would be “based on what they have done in the past, YES, this sort of thing could occur”. I’d acknwoledge that it could, and then explain why I think its still “extremely unlikely”.

            But you and Eileithyia believe it “likely” when the bulk of the evidence we have before us suggests “unlikely”. Therefore, the burden of proof is upon you to substantiate “likely”.

            Again, no one is arguing that overreactions and injustices have never happened. No one is arguing that the Party can’t be brutal thugs when they want to. No one is arguing that there is strict rule of law here. No one is arguing that the system can’t be characterized as eliminating threats to maintain grip on power.

            Since no one is saying, much less arguing, these things, WHO exactly are you “not agreeing” with again?

            Are you sure it’s me?

            I think you believe I’m saying something I’m actually not, and therefore you are disagreeing with your straw man of me. So, uh, “please get over” the straw man you have of me?

            Now, if you just want to make a point that you think the Party is a group of thugs who will do whatever they want in the face of threats to their power, go ahead. Just don’t argue that it is in disagreement with me, because when you do, I have to figure out how it is, and you haven’t shown me how.

          • don mario

            karl, please stop wasting your time writing mass walls of text that i will not read.

            people have been locked up for making posts on twitter and all kinds of stuff, i don’t need to educate you about this, i am sure you are smart enough to know what goes on. eliminating perceived threats to security is the most important thing to the party as it is what keeps their hold on power. knowing these two facts, the only conclusion a sane person could come to is that yes it is likely doing this sort of thing could lead to being locked up! infact this is much more likely to lead to being locked up as small numbers of people are an easy target: such as people going to beijing to make an official complaint(in the only ‘official’ way that exists) and being thrown in a black jail.

          • Kai

            A sane person would recognize the definition of “likely” and be concerned with whether or not they are disagreeing with someone in a relevant fashion. You don’t care to be sane. Fair enough. I tried.

        • don mario

          and i explained several times, why it is likely. YOU just didn’t agree with it so you couldn’t let it go. get your head out of your ass mate.

          • Kai

            You explained why it COULD happen, not why it is LIKELY. I’ve explained THIS to you several times. For some reason, “likely” and “could” have the same definition to you, and my refusal to accept this has resulted in you resorting to ad hominems.

    • Terrik

      Yep, extremely creative. Although Beijing is sitting at a pretty 57 AQI right now. Better than the 200 AQI earlier today in Wuxi. So much for the “cleaner” south.

      • Mighty曹

        57 AQI for Beijing is clean air! hahaha…. The last time I was in the Guangzhou region in 2010 it was very polluted. The sky was brown.

        • Rick in China

          Beijing is different than say, Chengdu, in that it has both extremely (comparatively) good days and extremely bad days, like it will go in cycles between 90 and 900, whereas chengdu range is more like 200-400 often sitting in the high 200s. It’s odd in that their actual averages over the year end up being about the same even though the perception is that Beijing is so much worse, because it does have those horror days….but I have no idea whether it’s better health wise to live in pollution spikes or constantly breathing a lesser amount of horrible shit into your lungs, either way, pollution is high enough to be a catalyst for departure.

          • Mighty曹

            I will take consistency over fluctuation any day.

      • David

        True, in Wuxi when we get below 200 we are happy.

    • DavidisDawei

      Agreed – it gets the point across very nicely.

      I just finished traveling across several regions of China and I was quite upset at how much worse the air quality is now across the entire country. Everywhere I went had hazy sunshine. Noticeable deterioration (to me) after only a few months since my last visits.

      I read an article in a Chinese newspaper last month that claimed eliminating fireworks celebrations would solve the air quality problem.

      In 2007, I read that China was planning to open at least one new coal fired electricity plant every week. If they have done so, that is more than 80 new plants. Coal is a very good option when proper pollution controls are added to the stacks, but this adds cost, so perhaps these were never added.

      I also recall reading a while back that China was adding 50,000+ new cars to their roads every day.

      Perhaps these and other variables have reached some critical mass and once passed creates what we are seeing now?

      China is a unique place with so many wonderful people. It is unfortunate they feel so powerless to do anything about the pollution in their country. They constantly talk about making money and I ask them what good will it do you if you’re DEAD!

      • Mighty曹

        Interestingly, the Premier just declared war on pollution. If China is serious about cleaning up pollution it has to also ‘clean’ up corruption. No matter how much regulations or new laws are in place all it takes is some money under the table to render them useless. No pun intended but corruption spews pollution.

        • don mario

          “if China is serious about cleaning up pollution”

          thats a big if, lol.

          • Mighty曹

            hahaha… yep.

      • Teacher in China

        The one and only good thing about living in small town Dongbei is that the polluted days are few and far between, and almost exclusively in the winter. Of course, it still happens, but not as often and not as seriously as the big cities.

    • don mario

      agreed, very cool. until they start locking up people who do it at least.

      • Mighty曹

        Imagine the Falun Gong members in masks.

  • comradewang

    Clever….

  • moeimoei

    SUPPORT!

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    And China with the speed of a lethargic turtle will spring into action and lodge a formal complaint in a couple months.

  • bujiebuke

    Seeing this brilliant form of protest restores a bit of my faith in Chinese people. Let’s hope there are more people who are willing to actively make a change in their government and society.

  • Repatriated

    And to think, when USA cyclists got off the plane for the olympics wearing face masks…everyone in China was butthurt. LOL.

  • mr.wiener

    But it stops lasers apparently.

  • masonman

    The idea of protesting smog is hilarious to me. “Yeah thats right, SMOG! Go away!”

  • Rick in China

    The most amusing thing here is the juxtaposition with the “Beijing Olympics cyclists arrive” thread in the related posts, where netizens can be seen whining and bitching about these arrogant foreign assholes who don’t like the Beijing air and can GTFO..

    But now they’re putting masks on statues, fuck, how long does it take for dalu eyes to open.

    • markus peg

      “Evil” foreigners are not allowed to say bad things about China only Chinese people can.

    • bujiebuke

      ‘Eye roll’. Your equating chinese netizens as one and the same; people who praised putting masks on the statues were the same people who told foreigners to GTFO when they complained about Beijing air. Once again your logic is impeccable. ‘saracastic tone’

      • Rick in China

        “Eye roll”. You’re presuming I literally think that each comment matches 1:1 in terms of the posters in each thread. Obviously you’re a very intelligent person ‘sarcastic tone’, surely you can realise this comment is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, ‘also sarcastic tone’.

        • bujiebuke

          I’m intelligent enough to see through all of your farcical posts as an anti-sinocist bigot who pouts and screams at your computer monitor just like the man-child that you are.

          You realize this is written text? How are we supposed to interpret “what you actually mean” from what you wrote? Please slither back to Liberty University and take a few more classes. We’ll call you out when there’s ditches that need to be digging.

        • Kai

          His choices were: Either your logic is that bad -OR- your logic is fine but you were still petty enough to conflate the two in a false juxtaposition in order to put down “dalu” people.

          I’d rather have poor logic than be seen as being over eager to be mean-spirited and contemptuous of a people.

          That said, I don’t think you’re an “anti-sinocist bigot” like bujiebuke apparently does. I just think you find such “observations” at the expense of logic and a people personally humorous (“tongue-in-cheek”) and hence worthwhile to share with a community you assume to be of like-mind. I make similar jokes all the time, except only with a group of people I’m reasonably certain would understand that I’m joking, as opposed to cS where there is a much broader spectrum of people who may or may not interpret such comments in the spirit of the jaded expat observer and connoisseur of seeming Chinese cognitive dissonance as you defend them to be.

          • bujiebuke

            I respect your writing, Kai. But I think your giving him too much credit here…

          • Kai

            He’s a cS old-timer like me, and while we’ve argued fiercely in disagreement about a variety of things in the past and present, he’s also contributed good comments, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

            Don’t get me wrong, I understand he does come off to many as the jaded expat who maybe enjoys a snide unfair comment at the expense of China/Chinese. Still, I try not to dismiss a person outright over individual disagreements.

        • Reptilian

          Would’ve been easy to believe your explanation that it was all just sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek, but that last sentence:
          “But now they’re putting masks on statues, fuck, how long does it take for dalu eyes to open.” <—snuffs out any credible attempt at explaining yourself.

  • Rick in China

    No – it’s being felt right now. I forget the %, but a MASSIVE amount of freshwater in China is unusable not just by agricultural standard, even for industrial use due to heavy pollution. Water is such a huge problem here, it’s just most urban people don’t pay much credence to it as long as relatively good water comes out when their tap is turned on.

    • xiaode

      If you google “China groundwater pollution” you get numbers between 55 and 90% (90% for cities)

      They will see what this means for their countries future soon enough…

      • Zappa Frank

        in present also.. China ‘bought’ something like 5% of Ukraine territory to develop some farms for pigs and wheat because it is not possible do it in the mainland…(they have to be worried now for what happen in Ukraine). smaller farms have been rented in New Zeland and somewhere else.. Basically China is going abroad to rent space to produce food because mainland apparently is too polluted and became unproductive..

      • Terrik

        After nearly 7 years, I ‘ll be out by the end of the year. I’d rather watch a disaster from a distance–not actually be part of it.

        • xiaode

          I can understand this!
          I have to say, I really like SH a lot, it´s a very good place for me to live… but one day I know I have to leave here…

          When people ask what are my plans in China, how long I plan to stay here… Marry (If I find the right girl, why not?).. buy a house (maybe not, at least not to the conditions right now)… having Children… NO FUCKING WAY!
          Once I have a child, I am leaving here immediately… !

    • DavidisDawei

      Rick – right on – You have to wonder if boiling the water is sufficient.
      Has anyone ever taken the water to be independently tested?

      I was in a rural part of China last year and met a reporter who was there to interview local officials. We spoke for several hours and apparently, the local people are dying of cancer at an alarming rate and the cause has been pinpointed to be the water.

      • Rick in China

        Agreed – as a root cause it makes sense. Whether it’s directly from drinking – or via horribly polluted water making it’s way into agriculture which we consume, something has to be done or the future is bleak indeed.

    • Kyle Mitchell

      Well, I suppose that’s good news for me, since I’m working on a doctoral degree in an engineering field heavily invested in clean water and groundwater. My specialty for the past 6 years has been groundwater, and I’ve been taking a look at China recently. Don’t know to much at the moment.

      • Reptilian

        Along with pharmaceuticals researching cancer therapies and renewable energy, your field would be one of the most in-demand for decades to come in China. Congratulations Kyle, you’re in the right business.

  • Surfeit

    “The consequences of economic development.” … lung cancer, mate. It’s a little more startling than a consequence.

  • commander

    As far as I know, the official stance of the Chinese government on the alarmingly deteriorating air pollution is that since regulations to curb atmosphereic pollution could undermine the potential of economic growth, it is hard to rein in what is a direct threat to public health.

    The authorities appear to think that regulatory moves for cleaner air could weaken the price competitiveness of its export products, and spell a disaster of massive unemployment if regulations add to product prices, leading to a significant reduction in exports and large scale layoffs.

    The Chinese leadership appears to fear that massive layoffs that follow economic slump could could spark a mass uprising jeopardizing the communist party rule.

    But this link of thinking appears to turn less persuasive as a growing number of Chinese consider air pollution as menacing as a spluttering economy and even leave the nation for other countries where environmental coexistence is valued as much as economic growth.

    In a nutshell, the grave challenge facing China is to address the double tasks of achieving sustainable economic growth and salvaging a moaing Earth from breaking down.

    • Kai

      Same is said about labor laws. It’s kinda true though. The question is what amount of trade-off is acceptable (or recoverable from). It’s also arguable that the people vocally complaining about the pollution are urbanites who aren’t involved in the manufacturing industries that produces most of the pollution, so there’s a demographic angle to it too.

      • commander

        What is overlooked in this arguement is that the environmental degradation have its ripple effect beyond the Chinese border.

        The yellow dust from China affect the Korean Peninsula, increasing the incidence of respiratory diseases for many people especially in springtime.

        For China to establish itself as a respectable great power among neighoring countries, it should factor into negative consequences from its economic growth drive.

        • Kai

          Labor laws have ripple effects beyond the border too, but I understand your point. I believe China has factored negative consequences for its growth. It just remains to be seen whether or not they’ve factored wisely. It wouldn’t be the first country to regret the damage its past industrialization has caused to itself and others.

  • bprichard

    I’m impressed that they have a Cervantes statue.

  • Wodowsan

    When I lived in Chongqing, China. For the first time in my life I had to take twice daily meds for asthma, just so I could breath. Upon returning to the States I have no longer needed to use the meds. Having taught at a hospital in Chongqing, many doctors had told me how lung disease was a chronic problem in China, and was only getting worse.
    As long as the Party owns major resources and industry in China the government will not have any motivation to make things better, especially if is going to cost those in power to do so.

  • hehehehh

    its almost artistic one can say.

  • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

    I’m sure he will if you buy the place tickets for him.

  • Reptilian

    I’m surprised no one in the Chinese state media has thought to blame Western imperialists for inflicting this pollution on China with the insidious aim of reducing the Chinese population and benefiting Western corporate coffers at the same time.

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