Environment

China’s Rich Are Leaving Urban Areas In Search Of Clean Air

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

As China’s rural migrants are moving into cities looking for work, the wealthiest residents are fleeing urban centers in droves in search of less pollution.

“Only a small portion of people who made profit in the city can afford to relocate to a slightly better place,” said Yuan Xuecheng, a teacher at Suzhou High School. “However, in China, where is there a better place? The air is polluted, the water is polluted, even the food is polluted. Where can you go? Some go abroad, but only few of them, very few of them. The majority of us just cannot escape.”

“Pollution is everywhere, in the air, water and food. There are now also more than 200 ‘cancer villages’ in China,” writes the New Tang Dynasty (NTD), a news service based in New York City and founded by Chinese Americans.

Some are moving overseas in search of clean air, to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and small European countries. Others relocate to less populated Chinese cities like Dali in Yunnan, Sanya in Hainan, Weihai in Shandong, and Zhuhai in Guangdong, according to NTD.

Critics argue that companies are pumping industrial waste deep underground in order to avoid waste treatment and regulation, contaminating ground water.

“Some industrial waste is very difficult to handle and the associated costs are relatively high. They don’t want to spend that kind of money,” Yu Xinyong, an investment manager for a Shandong company that handles industrial sewage, told NTD.

"Discharge is not allowed, and there is also monitoring facility on the ground," Yu continued. "So, they dug wells 50 meters, 80 meters, 200 meters, and 300 meters deep, and pumped the waste into the ground. No one knows they are discharging the waste in this way. Underground water hundreds of meters deep has taken tens of thousands of years to purify, and is totally ruined.”

Yu says the communist regime doesn’t care about long-term consequences. He accuses officials of having a “doomsday” mentality. He says the Chinese people have to turn to elected officials if they want pollution to be checked.

“In other words, if the people's congresses are elected by people, they may surely handle these problems,” Yu said. “In an ordinary society, we all think for our children. The reality now is that the people’s congresses are appointed by the regime. They will only listen to the authorities.”

Sources: NTD, ThinkProgress