Sydney Morning Herald
December 30, 1998
‘Of China’s 606 cities, two-thirds are seriously short of water. The aquifer level under Beijing is 80 metres down, dropping a metre a year. No one knows how much remains.’
[Article excerpt] … Of China’s 606 cities, two-thirds are seriously short of water. The aquifer level under Beijing is 80 metres down, dropping a metre a year. No one knows how much remains. So the Government is building a 1700-kilometre aqueduct from the Yangtze, itself (by government description) “cancerous”. … At official levels, the rhetoric is changing. Citizens have sued over destruction of habitat and Pan Yue, the Vice-Minister for State Environmental Protection, recently declared: “The proper future for China is a green socialist eco-civilisation.” But the reality remains terrifying: toxic rivers, poisoned soil, rampant desertification, vast sandstorms and the fact that China, with 1.3 billion people, now imports rice. Not unlike Australia, you might think. Only with 65 times as many mouths to feed, in a comparable area, and with a government with the power to avert eco-catastrophe, should it choose. Will it, though? Signs are mixed.