2009 September 07 Monday
China: Complain About Child Lead Poisoning And Get Arrested
Imagine first having your children get lead poisoning from a factory and then get arrested for protesting.
BEIJING – Police in central China detained 15 parents for a violent protest over factory pollution that left hundreds of local children with lead poisoning, and accused them of links to the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, villagers said Wednesday.
Villagers mocked the accusation, saying authorities were using the charge to take revenge against parents involved in the Aug. 8 unrest in Hunan province's Wenping township, that broke out after more than 1,300 children were poisoned by emissions from a manganese processing plant. Falun Gong practitioners are relentlessly persecuted by Chinese authorities.
Will China's corruption and lack of democracy put a ceiling on its economic development? Will economic development eventually force the leaders of China to at least institute local elections?
Since China looks on course to become the most powerful country in the world its corruption, pollution, and rising ability to influence other governments matters to the rest of us. I think we can count on many in our own elites to become corrupted by China's money. I think we can also count on larger scale Chinese intellectual property theft. Plus, Chinese pollution and Chinese resource consumption will continue to rise.
By Randall Parker at 2009 September 07 08:02 PM
I don't dismiss Chinese corruption and potential problems stemming from their rise.
But this doesn't tell us that the Chinese government necessarily tolerates poisoning and corruption so much as it shows that it won't tolerate violent protests and social instability, which we've known for a long time now.
In fairness to the Chinese, they do seem to be taking pretty strict measures that are far beyond what we're doing to deal with the fundamental and entrenched problems and moral hazards we have here. I doubt our problems will ever be addressed at their roots without some kind of epic collapse that takes down the whole system.
I think we can count on many in our own elites to become corrupted by China's money.
Why the future tense? The lure of "China's money", in various forms, has been corrupting our "elites" for several decades now. Not that I fault the Chinese for taking advantage of American venality and "time preference" disorders.
Maybe the elites have "become corrupted by China's money" because it isn't worth being corrupt just for US paper? The ongoing devaluation of the US dollar means that the elites have to work really hard just to remain as corrupt as they were last year. Its much more sensible to diversify their corruption into Yuan where there's a lot more scope for growth.