The annual blue book on Chinese International Migration (2014), was released by the Center for China & Globalization (CCG) on January 22. According to the report, environmental pollution has become an important factor influencing China's emigration.
China's environmental refugees are two-pronged. One being those moving overseas to find clean air, and the other is those remaining in China, who flee pollution. The wealthy class choose America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or small European countries as destinations. Those remaining in China move to less populated, small and medium sized cities. This includes Dali in Yunnan, Sanya in Hainan, Weihai in Shandong, and Zhuhai in Guangdong.
Suzhou was known by Chinese people as a heaven on earth, since ancient times.
However, Suzhou High School teacher Yuan Xuecheng says that smog has appeared in Suzhou quite often now. It is often hazy when it’s serious. He indicates that even though many Chinese long for moving overseas, only few could actually afford it.
Yuan Xuecheng, Suzhou High School teacher: “Only a small portion of people who made profit in the city can afford to relocate to a slightly better place. 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.”
Yu Xinyong is an Investment Manager in a Jinan, Shandong company handling industrial sewage. He has seen the chaos of industrial pollution. Chinese businessmen have treated China as a place to extract money, and it has been done with total disregard of the environment and ecology. The authorities simply don’t care about these environmental problems. Therefore, the governance of the pollution is in-humane and non-scientific.
Yu Xinyong, Investment Manager: “The so-called governance is actually just coping. Firstly, it is to cope with the instructions of their superiors. Secondly, it is to cope with unexpected environmental incidents, such as the pollution of Taihu Lake. Thirdly, it is to cope with protests, such as protesting against pollution from a chemical plant. There is no solution for future generations. None.”
Yu Xinyong exposes that some unscrupulous companies have pumped industrial waste directly into the earth hundreds meters of underground. This has caused contamination to pure and unpolluted underground water. This behaviour was just to avoid waste treatment and examination.
Yu Xinyong: “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. Discharge is not allowed, and there is also monitoring facility on the ground. 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 Xinyong further reveals that after exposure of this news, an investigation team from the Communist regime’s environmental protection department hurried to Weifang in Shandong. However, it concluded within a couple of days that there is no underground discharge.
Yu Xinyong says that the Communist regime cares nothing of long term consequences. Officials have been handling the pollution issues with the mentality of a doomsday. They care only for the now, for the GDP, and their titles. Only elected officials could think for the future of the generations to come.
Yu Xinyong: “In other words, if the people's congresses are elected by people, they may surely handle these problems. 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.”
Yu Xinyong does not believe any fundamental change would ever happen under the current Communist regime. He says that the pollution will only get more serious, and migration overseas of officials is also inevitable.
The deteriorating environment in China has led to the formation of a new population of environmental refugees. While hundreds of millions of peasant workers flock to urban areas for job opportunities, the urban working class is choosing to flee the cities. Pollution is everywhere, in the air, water and food. There are now also more than 200 ‘cancer villages’ in China. Where can people go? Is there a better place? The following is NTD reporter Qin Xue’s story.