By Jingrong Tong (auth.)
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Extra info for Investigative Journalism, Environmental Problems and Modernisation in China
The over-reliance on coal as energy for industrial production is only one major cause for pollution in China (Smil 1996). Chemical, mining and manufacturing industries have posed enormous risks to the environment and there is a general lack of environmental protection measures and consciousness. In 2006, Pan Yue, the then deputy director of the National Environmental Protection Bureau, announced that some 45 percent of 7,555 chemical plants were sources of major environmental risks. 7 Industrial pollution accidents happened one after another across the country.
But after the outbreaks of these protests, local governments chose to give up global investors in the face of strong public disapproval of these factories. At that point they appeared as “environmental problems solvers” who try to demonstrate the ability and willingness to reduce potential risk. Finally, the news media played an ambiguous role in these events. While most of the local media stayed silent, national media and those in other regions heavily criticised the decisions by the authorities to build up these projects that had already caused damage to local environments or threatened to do so in the future.
Conversely, other scholars (such as Liu and Zheng 2002) think that the potential damage caused by the South–North water transfer scheme can be considerably minimised by adopting new technologies. Pollution is another major environmental problem. The over-reliance on coal as energy for industrial production is only one major cause for pollution in China (Smil 1996). Chemical, mining and manufacturing industries have posed enormous risks to the environment and there is a general lack of environmental protection measures and consciousness.