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China 'buried smog death finding' [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-7-3 22:11:12 |Display all floors
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6265098.stm

The World Bank is alleged to have cut from a report research that suggests pollution causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths annually in China. The move followed pressure from Beijing, which believes the material is too sensitive and could lead to social unrest, said the UK's Financial Times. It said information was cut from the forthcoming report after requests from two Chinese government departments.

The World Bank told the BBC the final version had not yet been finalised. But a statement added: "[A preliminary] version of the report did not include some of the issues that are still under discussion."

The Financial Times said the Bank report, entitled 'Cost of Pollution in China', found up to 760,000 people die prematurely each year in China because of air and water pollution. High levels of air pollution in China's cities leads to 350,000-400,000 premature deaths, it said. Another 300,000 die because of poor-quality air indoors. The newspaper article, quoting World Bank advisers and Chinese officials, also said research showing that there are 60,000 premature deaths each year because of poor-quality water was also left out of the report.

"The World Bank was told that it could not publish this information. It was too sensitive and could cause social unrest," one adviser to the study told the Financial Times. It said the bank "reluctantly" agreed to take out the sensitive information.

The World Bank told the BBC that information for the report, which is being compiled in conjunction with the Chinese government, was still under review. A World Bank spokeswoman refused to say whether or not statistics about premature deaths were amongst the information taken out of the initial version.

Despite the apparent dispute over figures, the preliminary World Bank report published in March suggests air and water pollution do lead to an increased number of deaths in China. It also says the total cost of air and water pollution in the country amounts to about 5.8% of gross domestic product.

According to the Financial Times, China's State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa) and its health ministry asked the World Bank to cut out the reference to the specific number of pollution-related deaths. The BBC could not reach anyone at Sepa to comment on the issue. But the government department is certainly aware of China's pollution problems. Last month it said about 60% of Chinese cities regularly suffer from air pollution and have no centralised sewage treatment facilities.

The final World Bank report is due to be released soon. The organisation has previously said that China is home to 16 of the world's 20 most-polluted cities.


I hope that the final report does include all detail on premature deaths, as the Chinese government can't properly deal with pollution if it has an urge to sweep uncomfortable details under the carpet.

[ Last edited by mencius at 2007-7-3 02:12 PM ]
"People are the water, the ruler is the boat; water can carry the boat, but it can also capsize it."

-- Li Shimin (2nd Tang Emperor, "Taizong")

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Post time 2007-7-3 22:19:28 |Display all floors

Here's the FT article

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/8f40e248-28c7-11dc-af78-000b5df10621.html

Beijing engineered the removal of nearly a third of a World Bank report on pollution in China because of concerns that findings on premature deaths could provoke “social un-rest”. The report, produced in co-operation with Chinese government ministries over several years, found about 750,000 people die prematurely in China each year, mainly from air pollution in large cities.

China’s State Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and health ministry asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report when a draft was finished last year, according to Bank advisers and Chinese officials. Advisers to the research team said ministries told them this information, including a detailed map showing which parts of the country suffered the most deaths, was too sensitive.

“The World Bank was told that it could not publish this information. It was too sensitive and could cause social un-rest,” one adviser to the study told the Financial Times. Sixteen of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China, according to previous World Bank research.

Guo Xiaomin, a retired Sepa official who co-ordinated the Chinese research team, said some material was omitted from the pollution report because of concerns that the methodology was unreliable. But he also said such information on premature deaths “could cause misunderstanding”. “We did not announce these figures. We did not want to make this report too thick,” he said in an interview.

The pared-down report, “Cost of Pollution in China”, has yet to be officially launched but a version, which can be downloaded from the internet was released at a conference in Beijing in March.

Missing from this report are the research project’s findings that high air-pollution levels in Chinese cities is leading to the premature deaths of 350,000-400,000 people each year. A further 300,000 people die prematurely each year from exposure to poor air indoors, according to advisers, but little discussion of this issue survived in the report because it was outside the ambit of the Chinese ministries which sponsored the research. Another 60,000-odd premature deaths were attributable to poor-quality water, largely in the countryside, from severe diarrhoea, and stomach, liver and bladder cancers.

The mortality information was “reluctantly” excised by the World Bank from the published report, according to advisers to the research project.

Sepa and the health ministry declined to comment. The World Bank said that the findings of the report were still being discussed with the government. A spokesperson said: “The conference version of the report did not include some of the issues still under discussion.” She said the findings of the report were due to be released as a series of papers soon.
"People are the water, the ruler is the boat; water can carry the boat, but it can also capsize it."

-- Li Shimin (2nd Tang Emperor, "Taizong")

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Post time 2007-7-4 13:56:42 |Display all floors

Weird decision

What are the info censors afraid of?

There would be no any social unrest only becaus of publishing full data. The daily info available for Chinese today offers more shocking data an we do not witness any revolution from that.

Really difficult to find a good explanation for such decision, other that the Pavlov's dog reaction, which was the same in the early stage of SARS.

Cover the head with the pillow, the ghost will go away.
Andy Dob

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Post time 2007-7-4 14:50:06 |Display all floors

Self Deceipt.

mencius the facts mangler is in full flight now.  According to the gospel of St Menc Chinese pollution is the only toxic type in the world : corollary is that the western pollution is health giving and curl your hairs.  

The West has been happily polluting this planet for 200 years while the Chinese and Indians have been walking and cycling . Never mind that , it is the potential future pollutions from the developing world which are the main culprits. If these news sources have any streak of self respect or dignity , they would also mention the premature deaths of the western cities too.

This theme of  " my fart is sweeter smelling than your fart " is getting no traction St. Menc . It spotlights the poverty of arguments, the guilt of the culprits and the inability to face facts on the part of the West. The twin illnesses of  plagiarism and sensationalism have beset the western propaganda machine. If they are sincere, tell us the 200 year accumulated pollution foot prints instead of the 20 years old ones. Such humbug and such juvenile babbles.   
:)

[ Last edited by mengzhi at 2007-7-4 02:51 PM ]

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Post time 2007-7-4 21:59:01 |Display all floors
Originally posted by mengzhi at 4-7-2007 06:50
According to the gospel of St Menc Chinese pollution is the only toxic type in the world


Really, where did I say that? The only think that I said was that I hoped any details on premature deaths that were not included in the preliminary report be included in the full one.

meng, I think your brain is a bit scrambled - as usual.

Originally posted by doberman at 4-7-2007 05:56
What are the info censors afraid of? ...........The daily info available for Chinese today offers more shocking data an we do not witness any revolution from that.


I know, pollution in China is hardly a secret. I think some officials were overreacting. Hopefully the World Bank will reconsider their position and include all relevant details.
"People are the water, the ruler is the boat; water can carry the boat, but it can also capsize it."

-- Li Shimin (2nd Tang Emperor, "Taizong")

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Post time 2007-7-4 22:33:01 |Display all floors
Me personally - myself - I - would like to see the statistics for "premature deaths" in other nations to gain a perspective of the problem. 750K per year sounds like an outrageously high number, and it makes me wonder how the researchers arrived at it. If I had something to compare it to, then I could determine for myself the extent of the problem, and if this 750K was high, normal, or low. I will attempt with my feeble Google Fu to find an answer.
Husband, father, farmer, logger, woodcutter, and rancher

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Post time 2007-7-4 23:07:32 |Display all floors
A cursory search for relevant data yields the following:

China has a premature death rate of .03%
USA has a premature death rate of .01%

(premature deaths attributed to outdoor air pollution divided by national population times 100)

China (.4m/1313m)100 = .03
USA (.03m/298m)100 = .01

While the math demonstrates China has a rate 3 times that of the USA, both numbers are very small. That does not remove the significance of the individuals affected. It clearly shows people in both nations are negatively impacted, and that there is room for improvement.

I used data from the first page of my search. I have not challenged the source of these numbers. I am merely plugging in the values. I will continue to search for other data.
Husband, father, farmer, logger, woodcutter, and rancher

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