The Lessons of Harbin – Elizabeth Economy

From Time Asia:

The environmental disaster that has unfolded over the past two weeks in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin has the makings of a great story: explosion at large petrochemical plant releases toxic pollutants into major river, threatening millions; local officials attempt cover-up; panic ensues; wiser voices prevail; corrective action is taken. Unfortunately, the real story remains largely untold. China’s rapid economic development, endemic corruption and highly decentralized political system have produced a life-threatening environmental crisis for hundreds of millions of Chinese.