China is imploding and it knows it. China is imploding under its own pollution of dark mercury laced clouds and the stench of its chemical and waste tainted water.
A fourth of the country is now desert. More than three-fourths of its forests have disappeared. Acid rain falls on a third of China's landmass, tainting soil, water, and food. Excessive use of groundwater has caused land to sink in at least 96 Chinese cities, producing an estimated $12.9 billion in economic losses in Shanghai alone. Each year, uncontrollable underground fires, sometimes triggered by lightning and mining accidents, consume 200 million tons of coal, contributing massively to global warming. A miasma of lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other elements of coal-burning and car exhaust hovers over most Chinese cities; of the world's 20 most polluted cities, 16 are Chinese.
The government estimates that 400,000 people die prematurely from respiratory illnesses each year, and health care costs for premature death and disability related to air pollution is estimated at up to 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Four-fifths of the length of China's rivers are too polluted for fish. Half the population—600 or 700 million people—drinks water contaminated with animal and human waste. Into Asia's longest river, the Yangtze, the nation annually dumps a billion tons of untreated sewage; some scientists fear the river will die within a few years.China's air pollution was monitored from space by the US and the results are telling.
The figures provided  reveal telling trends for PM 2.5 data in China. All but four provinces (excluding Taiwan) have average annual exposures to PM 2.5 above levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)China's water situation is even worse with two-thirds of its cities facing water shortages.
Chinese officials have warned that the world's second largest economy is facing acute water shortages and that the problem is worsening on a daily basis, according to the China News Service.The dilemma is that China's efforts to raise its masses from poverty by embracing western consumption models have failed in the most basic of goals and have exacerbated the problems of poverty in China
Vice Minister of China's Water Resource Ministry Hu Siyi (胡四一) said China's water resources per capita stands at only 28% of the world average, during a press conference hosted by the State Council's Information Office.
Hu also said two thirds of Chinese cities are facing water shortages and another 300 million people in rural areas have no access to safe drinking water
Unlike the US government with its environmental head in the sand the Chinese government has commissioned its "Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change" which spells out 'grim' climate change risks.
Global warming fed by greenhouse gases from industry, transport and shifting land-use poses a long-term threat to China's prosperity, health and food output, says the report. With China's economy likely to rival the United States' in size in coming decades, that will trigger wider consequences.And unlike in the US where the arrest of 1,200 environmental activists was hailed as historic the toxic environmental situation in China has created A Peoples Revolution.
"China faces extremely grim ecological and environmental conditions under the impact of continued global warming and changes to China's regional environment," says the 710-page report, officially published late last year but released for public sale only recently.
THE PEOPLES REVOLUTIONChinese Protestors against Government Land Grabs
In 2005, there were nearly 1,000 pollution-related protests a week in China, and the numbers have only increased since. The protesters run the social gamut, from impoverished villagers to the urban middle class. The government's response has been similarly varied, ranging from killing and beating protesters to launching investigations into the worst offenders.
In June 2007: Up to 20,000 middle-class Chinese congregate outside the city government headquarters in Xiamen to protest a proposed chemical factory. The protesters were alerted by an anonymous cell phone text message (rumored to have been sent by Xiamen University professors and students). The city cracks down on anonymous web posting.
Yet even with the threat of the power of the State, Chinese environmentalists have had some success recently when 30,000 occupied a highway to protest the building of a coal power plant and the government withdrew its plans.
China is at a crossroads. There are some glimmers of hope as in the evidence that China is rethinking its embrace of US-style Agriculture with questions concerning antibiotics used in animal agriculture and questioning the safety of genetically modified crops for consumption. As TransCanada prepares to send its dirty Tar Sands oil to China..How will the Chinese People react? There is already some pushback there.
This will not be easy but I would like to see more of this Green Partnership between US and China My money is on the Chinese people to recognize that current consumption is unsustainable and they are paying the price in early deaths and degradation of environment.