The Dirty Secret of China’s Economy – Brian Bremner

From Business Week:

The 2008 Beijing Olympics is being billed as one of those glorious defining moments in history that will signal China’s arrival as an economic power. But what if the global media pack and the millions of tourists who descend on China two years from now take away a less-than-flattering impression of the Middle Kingdom?

Yes, China is a remarkable growth story. But it is also fast becoming an ecological wasteland, home to world-class smog, acid rain, polluted rivers and lakes, and deforestation. Environmental problems play a role in the death of some 300,000 Chinese people each year, according to World Bank estimates.

China’s torrid growth statistics”the mainland clocked 10%-plus growth in the first quarter”also mask the huge economic costs of this evolving environmental crisis. On June 5, China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) issued a report that the mainland’s pollution scourge costs the country roughly $200 billion a year, or some 10% in gross domestic product, from lost work productivity, health problems, and government outlays. That is a staggering admission. [Full text]

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