Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hey I thought the World Bank was OUR Puppet

But from the Financial Times comes the story that the Chinese government engineered the removal of nearly a third of a World Bank report on pollution in China because of concerns that its findings on premature deaths could provoke "social unrest".

The article says that pre-censoring, the WB report claimed that about 750,000 people die prematurely in China each year, mainly from air pollution in large cities.

And apparently I've been hiding under a rock somewhere because the FT article takes as an already given fact that sixteen of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China

To me, this has implications for several issues.

First, it seems like China is in trouble. While their reported growth rates have been spectacular, they still have a very very long way to go to catch the up to the developed countries and it seems like the country will be a smoking cinder long before they do.

Second, man the WB is full of wusses!!

Third, doesn't this kind of potential environmental meltdown have to factor into any analysis of our trading relations with China? Yes we get cheap poison dogfood and all, but aren't these pollution costs in some way relevant too?