Francesco Sisci: Liang Congjie – China’s ‘green’ Cassandra

From Asia Times:

then was no simple prophet. He was the target of a curse that stretched from generation to generation, as if Greek tragedy interloped with the Buddhist hell in which the sins of the fathers spawn the damnation of the sons. Moreover, it is hard to see what tragedy was worse, the end of the empire, the dissolution of peerless monumental cities, or the beginning of the poisoning of the air and water on an almost global scale.

Yet the problem is not just within China – it is all of us who are around China. When in the summer of 1992, in Ostia, near Rome, Liang Congjie was speaking of the coming tragedy of Chinese pollution, I scoffed. I thought China had many problems but pollution was not one of them. He looked at me and shrugged because he knew people would not believe him, and yet he continued to tell what he thought was right without shouting, crying, or making heroic poses.

To his decency and modesty, perhaps even more than to his clairvoyance, we owe respect and the self-criticism to avoid repeating the mistakes we made with Liang Congjie and his forefathers.

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