If you haven’t been following the horrendous air quality Beijing that’s blanketed Beijing, take a look at this post by James Fallows at The Atlantic. Visibility is almost nil, readings are literally off the charts, and I’m certain it’s acutely hazardous to people’s health if they step outside.
As Fallows notes, such environmental disasters could lead to the undoing of China’s recent economic successes:
This is yet another reminder of a fact impossible to forget when you’re inside China but that often gets glossed over in credulous accounts of the New Chinese Century. Namely, that economic growth has come at the cost of environmental disaster, which is in turn (according to me) the most urgent and important of several limits and dangers the Chinese system faces. Every country as it develops has gone through its hellish-despoliation era, and of course the world as a whole is still at this stage. But the scale and speed of China’s transformation make its case unique.