Last month in Chongqing, over 100 police investigated 873 suspects over 10 days before issuing warrants for the arrest of two people. Chongqing’s top communist official, Bo Xilai, “a rising political star and son of the late revolutionary and military leader Bo Yibo”, ordered the massive manhunt. What heinous crime had the dangerous miscreants committed? Poisoned the drinking water of their rural neighbors; dumped toxic chemicals into the fields of the local farmers, emitted air pollutants that sickened the children in the adjacent school; all of the above?
Uh no. These two (are you seated?) damaged four flags, “a national one and others representing organs of the Communist Party,” at a cemetery for communist martyrs by throwing ink-filled eggs at them. It does not appear that the arrestees intended to make a grand political statement, but were simply taking out their frustrations with the “local land departments” in a “dispute over land issues.”
[…] What do we learn from this incident? Nothing that we didn’t already know. When a high official wants something done, it usually gets done. Thus, no more excuses about lack of resources. If Chongqing can commit 100 police officers for 10 days to catch some egg throwers, it should be able to stop every illegal discharger. So, now that these two scofflaws have been apprehended, take these 100 police officers and make them the nucleus of a new environmental enforcement unit (like the one recently established in Kunming and several other locales) with a mandate to get tough. That effort will burnish the the imagine of the country and the party.
Whether China can go actually green — or at least become less wasteful of energy — is no mere diplomatic debating point. According to numerous scientific studies released over the past year, China has not only overtaken the United States to become the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but its output has been growing at a rate that far surpasses the efforts of all wealthy nations to decrease theirs. Since 2000, China by itself has produced more than one-half of the world’s net increase in emissions.
As China struggles to maintain its red-hot economic growth amid worldwide recession, a crucial process to watch is the government’s $600 billion economic stimulus plan, announced in November. The plan came as economists predicted that the country’s growth, which averaged about 9 percent in the first nine months of the year, would drop to near zero in the last quarter.