It's good news! China's air is getting better since it declared war on pollution four years ago. And any Chinese person over 4 years old right now is going, "Yep." Like Michael Jordan.
While I have seen Chinese efforts to clean up their air and I don't want to discount them, I lived in the coal capital of the world over there so I wonder how many years THAT cost me. But imagine Chinese people! In some places, a few years of responsible environmentalism has added 5.5 years to their lives! Ohhh, great! But.... um.... how many years did we LOSE in the time before that? Makes you wonder at the price paid by many for the advancement of the few. I read an article that calculated pollution in China to cost the citizens an aggregate 2.5 billion years of life. While that's just silly, when compared to the advancement of the economy, and more to the point, the average wealth of the average person, would they say it's worth it?
Long life is something that may be treasured more in China than anywhere else. The Chinese sometimes wish a friend, "chang ming bai sui," which means, "may you live 100 years." Or, "shou bi nan san," which means, "may you live as long as Nan mountain." A huge amount of Chinese medicine, and Chinese fake medicine, is said to promote longevity. Where I lived, people seemed to eat noodles at almost every meal. Longevity noodles are actually believed to extend life. NEVER cut or break them. Long noodles=long life.
In 1862 in China, a Cholera plague broke out that, at its height, killed 3000 people a day. It didn't affect the south, and since the southern Chinese had a habit of drinking hot water, it was credited with their surviving the plague. Also, the purification effects of boiling water have lead to Chinese Communist Party slogans like, "Children should cultivate a habit of drinking boiled water 3 times a day." Today hot water is accessible to every Chinese citizen at all times. Almost everyone carries a thermos of it. Outside the hot water tap at TUST where I worked there were hundreds of thermoses and every restaurant, apartment or public place has a couple of them. Supermarkets have entire aisles of different sized and coloured thermoses.
They are so obsessed with life-extending hot water that it is sometimes hard to get a cold drink. They even drink Coke and beer warm!!!
The Chinese are religious early risers too. It is believed to promote long life. And what do they do with the extra time that gives? Why, they do some early morning breathing, moving or dancing in the park. Chinese believe in disciplined breathing and movement being a key to longevity as well.
So with so many things being done with the intent to extend their lives, it makes you wonder what they could be even MORE obsessed with that would lead them to poison their air so badly in the first place. Well, as always, the answer is money. I can't speak for the average Chinese person, but I've lived in China and breathed the Chinese air and I can tell you I would have to be pretty frickin' wealthy for a lifetime of THAT air to be worth it! But it appears that most citizens believe that it has been.
Here's a picture of Korea today:
That's not something from a magazine or TV, it was taken by a friend of mine. This is what they call, "fine particulate matter," in the air today. This kind of weather or air is often thought by Koreans to be the fault of China. But the article clearly states that statements like 80% of the bad air in Korea is caused by other countries, mostly China, are now known to be highly exaggerated. But, as everyone who visits Korea for a lengthy period of time can attest, an issue doesn't have to be real and accurate to thoroughly piss Koreans off.
So here I sit, having been breathing Korean and Chinese air for the better part of 15 years, wondering how many of my days have been sacrificed for their cause. I've had some great experiences over here, but has it been worth the loss of life? And this is to say nothing of the constant corruption, deceit and graft that has eaten away at me mentally. Now, granted, the years I'll lose will come off the END of my life. At least, (here I go again with my "at leasting"), they didn't come off the part of my life when I was actually enjoying it. They'll come off the part of my life when I'll be falling and breaking my hip, losing my teeth, my mind and my constitution, and having no fun at all. So that's okay, I guess. But I reckon I don't prize long life as much as the Chinese. I wonder how THEY feel about this.
Well, here's a good article about that. Don't just read the first part, read the reply by the Chinese guy, Lu Fei. He says that the people of Beijing are not THAT in love with money. I would be inclined to agree with him. I don't think the average citizen of any country I've experienced is in love with money to the extent of the Chinese, but I STILL don't think they're so self-destructive about it. It's just the few people in charge. As it always is.
I am still being blocked by a corrupt, greedy employer, and a corrupt, absurd visa rule from getting any work in China. I've been offered the best job ever, by far, for September too. But that 45 grand a year depends on the cancellation of an expired document. I won't be too depressed if I can't eventually cancel my Foreign Expert Certificate and get another job, (legally), in China. The fact that this situation actually exists just shows the incivility of the country. Actually changing laws to enable, nay, encourage illegal behavior by corrupt businesses, and offering no public recourse, are both actions of an uncivilized nation. Polluting the air to benefit the few at the expense of many would also qualify.
But, AT LEAST they might be getting better. In the area of pollution anyway...