3.02.2008

WATER IN CHINA

In the run-up to this summer's Olympics, I had heard before of how countries were planning to send their athletes to nearby countries to train, but not to China because of air quality; and I had heard that Beijing was thinking about literally shutting down all industrial activity for two months before the Games to clear out the air.

But this is the first I've read about another, potentially larger environmental concern: "China Has Been Moving the Earth to Gain Water." The nation whose appetite for oil and steel has been well-documented apparently is as thirsty as it is hungry, with potentially disastrous consequences for the local environment.

Even worse, Beijing has responded in desperation with plans to divert water from rural farms to ensure adequate supply for the Olympics, further exacerbating a poor rural / rich urban divide. I had predicted late last year that China would suffer an environmental disaster embarrassingly close to the Games, and a few times about growing unrest between rich and poor (here, here, and here). I hope to be wrong on two counts; but sadly, in both cases, my odds of being right appear to have increased.
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