Growing pains for China's technology

Discussion in 'China' started by arya, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    On a trip to northern China, Jonathan Watts started a fight at a banquet table. It was the author and journalist's third banquet in a matter of days, each one more lavish than the next.

    The Beijing-based writer was meant to be in northwestern Gansu to observe the region's "white forest" of wind turbines, a striking symbol of China's massive push to develop sustainable energy.

    But at every stop at a new township - and faced with another grotesque, two-hour long feast - he was reminded of how unsustainable the country's habits could be.

    The tall, bespectacled Englishman says: "They assure you, 'don't worry, it's just a snack', but you turn up and there's 12 people and all this food. You've got this extraordinary waste. So by the third banquet, I had a bit of a row with them."

    These culinary ceremonies are one of the symptoms of China's embrace of capitalism and consumerism. But, as Watts told New Zealand audiences this week in a speaking tour, China has not yet fully embraced environmentalism.

    "China is a green superpower and a black superpower at the same time. Someone once said you can't understand China unless you're able to hold two mutually contradictory ideas in your head at the same time."

    In a six-month trip from Shangri-La to Tibet to inner Mongolia, through coal mines, arid farming land and cancer-plagued villages, he observed first-hand the ecological toll of the country's rampant rise in capitalism. His mixture of absurd, exhilarating and tragic findings across China makes up the chapters of When A Billion Chinese Jump. The title comes from the nightmarish scenario he was warned of as a child - that if all of China's population jumped at once, the world would be knocked off its axis.

    Watts tells the Weekend Herald that this naive belief stemmed from the fact that China was then a faraway, oriental, unknowable country.

    Thirty years on, China is becoming more like us. The faster, greater, cheaper consumer lifestyle is already unsustainable when adopted by a billion people. If China makes the jump, it could yet tip the world off its axis.

    The scale of China's expansion cannot be understated. The country will build 50,000 skyscrapers in the first quarter of this century - the equivalent of 10 New Yorks. A new coal-generated power plant is built every week. More than 87,000 new dams have been constructed.

    In the past 10 years the cost of mostly unregulated industrial growth has become apparent, says Watts. His children cannot go outdoors on their school breaks in Beijing because the smog is too harmful. In rural areas, desertification and resource depletion is rife.

    Watts, who says he is not a "died-in-the-wool-greenie", explains China's huge appetite is relevant to New Zealand because it is likely to put pressure on foreign countries to expand their pursuit of dirty fuels.

    "I'm not lecturing you, but it is apparent that you have beautifully clear skies and clear water compared to Beijing. Maybe they're worth more than you realise. I wouldn't sacrifice them too quickly for the benefits that might come from more resource exploitation. That's largely driven by China's demand. I saw it in Australia - there's this huge kind of sucking sound; everything's being drawn towards China."

    China's industrialisation is also occurring with incredible swiftness. Watts cites an American economist who semi-jokingly calculated that a "China year" (a similar concept to "dog years") was equivalent to four American years, such was the country's dizzying rate of growth.

    But the key problem with China's rapid, massive expansion is its timing.

    When Britain industrialised, there was room on the planet for development and to "outsource" the consequences of its growth to smaller countries. In the 21st century, emerging countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and India are also seeking more prosperous lifestyles. That leaves China, halfway in between the richest nations and the emerging economies, fast running out of room and mineral resources to keep growing.

    "It's as if China has come to a feast that has being going on for 200 years, where most of the food is gone and yet it is the biggest, hungriest person coming to the table. That is the situation we're in now."
     
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  3. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    "It's as if China has come to a feast that has being going on for 200 years, where most of the food is gone and yet it is the biggest, hungriest person coming to the table. That is the situation we're in now."

    :rofl:
     
  4. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    you are right but dont you think time has come when we have to think from our point of view
     
  5. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Africa is largely untapped. Both India and China will control more than half the world's resources by the end of the decade.
     
  6. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    but what will you if usa will put there nose in you asset.

    dont you think we have to supprt iran or syria or not ??
     
  7. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    You can't control it if you can't protect it.
     
    panduranghari likes this.
  8. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    thanks for saying my line
     
  9. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    This gruntling Englishman is pathetic if he doesn't appreciate such a 'culinary ceremony'. What "capitalism" or "consumerism"? What "environmentalism"?? We don't only enjoy foods for enough calories but also feel comfortable to communicate at a banquet. That's the way it is for thousands of years irrelevant to any 'ism'. It's simply a lifestyle.

    A sour grape?
     
  10. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Not sour grapes, but the willingness to step outside the known paradigm and acknowledging facts. Your government has sold you a dream, a dream which not everyone can live in. There will always a few people in the world who will be able to afford things. There will always be people who cannot afford things.

    When the situation in the west gets worse, which it will, the people will get on the streets demanding more. They wont get it either. The same will happen in India and in China. There will be revolutions and when there are revolutions the current paradigm changes and a new one appears. Isn't this revolution what the CCP is afraid of? The current UPA government in India is afraid of this revolution.
     
  11. thecurryguy

    thecurryguy Tihar Jail Banned

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    So does your government, what about the millions of indian who are starve and verging to death each day. What is the point spending countless fortunes in arm purchasing whlist neglecting the fact that this country has millions of starve peasants who cannot make the basic living standard...
    what an irony, Singh

     
  12. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Its happening in your country too. Heck its happening in all the newly industrialising world. Some countries like India face up to it but are slow in implementing the policies. Some countries like China deny the existence of the problem and adopt an holier than thou attitude.

    People do die in both countries but media in one allows the govt to be exposed, while in the other media is the government.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  13. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    That is quite untrue. China waited for decades before upgrading its military. The government was content with raising ordinary citizens out of poverty before pursuing a 21st century military. In the 90's, China's military tech mostly originated from the 60's. Americans made fun of the PLA, saying that any invasion of Taiwan would be a "million man swim". India on the other hand never gave way to poverty relief. I've never heard of the CPC not acknowledging poverty. Now that the situation is reversed, we now have "hegemonic" ambition.
     
  14. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    well if you think china dont have poor then you are just sleeping yes china is little ahead , but you know if we fight then profit goes to west and if worked together then we both will gain
     
  15. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    Aren't you listening? Have you heard anyone, anywhere in China saying there is no poverty in here? This is what I said in my post: "I've never heard of the CPC not acknowledging poverty." Our government will outright LIE about many things, but poverty? Not even the CPC can lie about that. We all know there is poverty in China, but you cant compare the situation here with the situation in India. What you say about working together is true though. Raising standards of living in the region at large would be a whole lot easier if both countries would work together. But mistrust and ill will wont help anyone.
     

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