Yves Dumas | Tuidang Center
China’s environmental problems are as vast as the country itself. Besides well known air and water pollution and the infamous cancer villages, another two can be added to the increasing list of problems: mining operations and mountain flattening for city development.
“Mining operations in a Tibetan-populated region of Qinghai province are wrecking the environment, with mountains stripped bare and waterways polluted by runoff from the mines causing diseases for both humans and animals”, sources told Radio Free Asia. Payments promised in compensation to Tibetan nomads for the use of their land have also been denied, the source said.
Recently the People’s Republic proposed a new and unprecedented idea, that of flattening mountains to create more buildable land for city development. A move that will create major environmental issues, including water pollution, air pollution, flooding, and soil, say researchers of Chang’an University in China.
“Earth moving on this scale without scientific support is folly,” the researchers at Chang’an University, wrote. “The consequences of these unprecedented programs have not been thought through—environmentally, technically, or economically.” As if that is not mind boggling enough, some researchers claim that the flattened land may be even unsuitable to build on: “Such soft soils can subside when wet, causing structural collapse and land subsidence. Building on such soils is quite dangerous and it would take a very long time for the ground base to become stable.”
The flattening of mountains, however, illustrates how environmental problems and politics in the People’s Republic are intertwined, like a Russian matryoshka doll. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) top level is very concerned about so-called ‘social stability’. It knows very well that in order to hang on to its power it needs the support of a fairly large section of ‘middle class’ Chinese.
To keep the middle class satisfied, and thus willing to sacrifice some of men’s natural freedoms and rights in turn for economic prosperity under the ‘leadership’ of the CCP, the CCP has to keep a GDP of a growing economy. With direct foreign investment on the decline in China, one of the only reasons they have been keeping a growing economy is through building projects. Downside is that as China grows more and more, they are running out of building space and have turned towards mountainous areas for further expansion. Since mountains cannot hold buildings, China decided to flatten them in order to use the land.
“The more we learn about these projects, the clearer it’s becoming that they are catastrophic for the environment. Land creation projects have created landslides and flooding, altered rivers and streams courses, polluted waters, and have, in some cases, increased air particle matter by 50 percent.”, Jason Koebler from Motherboard states.