Friday, January 12, 2007

China’s Economy Growth Pays Too High Price: State Official

China's economic growth paid the price of environment damage

China’s economic growth “paid too high price,” said one of China’s top government officials.

The growth is too fast, built upon relatively weak foundation, and has created many “unstable and inharmonious elements,” Mr. Ma Kai, director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told other government officials in Beijing on Friday.

He identified the main problems of China’s development, such as weak agriculture and increasingly sharp conflicts between economic growth and the environment, particularly natural resources and energy. He said China is facing tough task of saving energy and resolving many social problems. But before such a high-profile state government official admits the high cost of China’s booming economy, Chinese people, including scholars, have already been talking about the problem.

Zhang Hongliang, a professor from School of Adult Education at the Central University of Nationalities, for instance, has tried to ring the alarm that China’s development is now at a dangerous stage.

In an article he wrote and published on the Internet last month, he said the biggest price China paid for the economic growth “is the huge catastrophic damage to China’s natural resources and environment.” He lists the following data: “80 percent of (China’s) river and lake dried out, two thirds of grasslands are decertified, most forests disappear, and almost a hundred percent of soils are hardened.”

Moreover, more than 300 million people in rural areas do not have safe water resources, and over 400 million urban residents breathe heavily polluted air. Pollution and environment damage also take away a big chunk of China’s economic gain every year, Mr. Zhang writes.

Along with the deterioration of China’s natural environment is that of society, Mr. Zhang writes, citing increasing criminal rates and industrial deaths. Mr. Zhang also lashes out at China's cheap exports, describing China's products as being sold overseas “at such low prices that they are almost given away for nothing,” at the cost of millions of Chinese labors and huge amount of the country's resources. He warns that the current economic development is achieved by “sacrificing the resources for the future generations.”

The public is much divided upon receiving Mr. Zhang’s warning. People agree with him as much as they disagree. Some say his criticism is very insightful, and some say he is very biased.

The government, as always, has its own say, whether or not its policies could work.

On Friday, Mr. Ma Kai proposed several countermeasures to the problems, including implementing better macro control of economy by the government, strengthening protection of the environment and saving energy , as well as pushing forward reform, openness and technology innovation.

----by Josie Liu


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

agree. but there got to be a balance, otherwise China won't have a future, for her lands will be ruined.