samedi 7 mars 2015

Is China saving the world ?

It seems not. Were China really dealing with pollution then the rest of the world could be relieved because the PRC is really a big fish. But these days, China's Parliamentary Sessions are held in Bejing and nothing exciting about pollution came out so far. As stated by a title in the SCMP:1China makes no new promises in battle to clear the day as it fine-tunes pollution targets”

This seemingly passive position is observed 5 days after the release of Chai Jing's viral documentary, “Under the Dome”.2 This documentary is in some way the Chinese counterpart of Al Gore's “Inconvenient Truth”; however its presentation and the scientific facts it reports -such as the list of the chemicals brought by PM2.5 in the lungs- are more rigorous. It is sometimes over-emotional, when it takes the reference to the reporter's daughter. Sometimes, it is over-interpreted, for instance mixing correlation and causality or showing fake econometric models and it is not clear whether the data collected could allow a correct economic analysis. However it remains that it is a very impressive amount of work and of information. Notably, it points out that at least part of the smog issue in China comes from the absence of enforcement of existing regulation.

During the NPC Session, a clear commitment has precisely been made to now fight more illegal polluters as well as those who fail to properly carry out their supervisory duties. As mentioned by Li Yan, Head of Climate and Energy at Greenpeace East Asia "it is now time to convert the words into real actions". But last but not least, the fact that Chai Jing documentary has been released on the internet is maybe the largest proof that China is decided to do something against air pollution. This documentary features important government officers, companies leaders. It thus hard to imagine it can have been released without government approval. And in fact what best way than such a viral movie to make anyone ready to accept the implementation of constraining environmental measures? Eventually, China may well be doing a step towards saving the world.

Notes on what has happened since this post was online:
-  the new Environment Minister (Chen Jining) also declared that the government will go after illegal polluters: "We would publish activities of the government and enterprises, leaving no space for violators to hide from the environmental protection law", he said at a press conference for the thirs session of the NPC.
- after 200 million views, "Under ther Dome" has been deleted from major Chinese video websites (so far, the link below is still valid).

2 for a version with english subtitles.

2 commentaires:

  1. Do we know why the documentary has been censured ? Any information?

  2. You can find information on the SCMP website this morning: