A new report from the World Health Organization details how 7 million people are dying from air pollution every year and 40 percent of those are dying from China’s pollution. Too often, politicians treat pollution as just some trade off for jobs, but it has a more lethal cost that most people do not appreciate. China is the nightmare scenario of that environmental meltdown as we have previously discussed. At the same time, China is exported its surveillance technology to help nations like Ethiopia suppressed dissent and free speech.
According to the WHO, air pollution now causes more deaths worldwide than AIDS, diabetes and road injuries combined.
Chinese air pollution is now degrading the air of other countries and radically increasing the death toll.
The air is now so bad that there is a new market of bottles of fresh air for tourists; Of course, now that Chinese can see sunsets on huge screens you can enjoy your canned air while watching your projected sunset.
Of course, the United States has lost the ability to object to surveillance abuses after the wholesale attack on privacy by President Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush. However, China is now exporting its surveillance technology to other authoritarian governments or despot wannabes. Ethiopia’s government is deploying Chinese cyber and phone surveillance technologies from China to crackdown on dissent. Here is one of the poorest nations on Earth but it is accepting food aid while spending money to suppress dissent. The technology is from Chinese telecom giant ZTE and allows for monitoring of social media, phone, and Internet communications. Other nations like Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are following suit with the creation of surveillance states.
Ironically, the two exports of China, smog and surveillance, have proven incompatible elements for the China. The surveillance services are complaining that the smog is preventing their surveillance of citizens. However, it has been sold as a protection against spying by other countries who cannot penetrate the lethal levels of smog. Of course, under the shroud, Chinese are dying in the worker’s paradise.
It would be wonderful if the United States could actually take the lead in criticism of this trend but we have been silenced by our own towering hypocrisy. That is what the last two presidents have frittered away: not just our rights but our credibility.
Likewise, the Chinese are citing Australia’s reversal on climate change pollutants (and here) under the conservative Abbott administration as justification to back off its own limited promises to curtail those pollutants. Even though Abbott (who once called climate change theories “absolute crap”) was reversed by the legislature, he can take credit for giving the Chinese an excuse for not imposing needed measures like a pollution tax.