Pollution ‘hits China’s farmland’

China’s a time bomb just ticking away. Their government has to walk several dangerous tightropes just to keep the place together:

One is between Capitalism and environmental destruction. Capitalism keeps China’s people under control because they feel that they are getting wealthier and have a future to look forward to. But the resulting environmental destruction is significant because it will ultimately produce a very ugly end to the party.

Another tightrope China walks is between the wealth of the coastal cities and the deep poverty of the inner regions of China. They’ve already instituted draconian measures to keep the folks down-on-ther-farms down there so that they can continue to grow food for the wealthy folks in the city but you can just imagine how popular that is. The tension between the haves and have nots in China draws tighter every year.

And then there’s the tension between how much central control the Communist Party can exert to control the society through control of information, human rights abuses, Internet blocking, religious persecution and one-party rule vs. how open and free running the place needs to be to realize the power of its booming Capitalistic expansion.

-The entire place is like a corporation growing at maximum speed. One mistake with, for example, the cash-flow calculations and the entire edifice could tumble. Heady but very dangerous stuff.

So, now add in the desertification destroying much of the country west of Beijing . Add in the Yangtze River, polluted beyond recovery , add in the story below about pollution hitting China’s farmlands.

Add in several other stories that have been posted here regarding China and her problems: .

Add them in – and ask how long do you think China can walk these highwires and what do you think will happen when they stumble?

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More than 10% of China’s farm land is polluted, posing a “severe threat” to the nation’s food production, state media reports.

Arable land shrank by nearly 307,000 hectares (760,000 acres) in the first 10 months of 2006, government officials were quoted as saying.

Excessive fertiliser use, polluted water, heavy metals and solid wastes are to blame, the reports said.

Rapid economic growth has had a damaging impact on China’s environment.

Its cities, countryside, waterways and coastlines are among the most polluted in the world.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said agricultural land in China fell to 121.8 million hectares (300 million acres) by the end of October 2006 – a loss of 306,800 hectares since the start of the year.

Heavy metals alone contaminate 12m tonnes of grain each year, causing annual losses of 20bn yuan ($2.6bn), China’s Xinhua news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

Land and Resources Minister Sun Wensheng said agricultural land in China must not be allowed to fall below 120 million hectares.

“This is not only related to social and economic development, but is also vital to the long-term interests of the country,” he was quoted as saying.

China’s government has promised to spend heavily to clean up the country’s heavily polluted environment.

But clean-up efforts are often thwarted by lax enforcement of laws and administrative activity at a local level, correspondents say.

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