Lip Service Vs. Real Intentions

The direction that China takes as it continues to develop its policy, both domestic and foreign, should be the concern of everyone in the world. With the largest population and a rapidly developing economy, the impact the rapidly changing country will have on the world in the next few years is going to be exponentially greater than any other single country. Studying here in Yunnan, in China’s South West, the fact that a great majority of the media is government controlled makes me an instant skeptic when it comes to a good deal of the ‘statements’ that come from Beijing in regards to progressive or controversial policy changes. China seems to be taking on a role in which it does its best to keep other countries happy while at the same time working quietly and almost inconceivably diligently to gain every advantage in terms of both its internal development and its international relations. In line with this strategy, the media is almost instantly flooded with reports and government statements whenever an issue seems timely or controversial. The stories and reports come together all too conveniently to tell a story that always seems to say “China recognizes this problem and has devised a strategy that will solve it and make the world better for everyone.”

Environment and climate change issues are a good example.  CCTV International, China’s English language television channel, rarely seems to go more than a few days without a feature about one environmental challenge or another. The country has come under pressure from the international community, of course, to take dramatic efforts to control the impact that its changing economy, industries, and lifestyles of its massive population are having and will have on the global climate. Listening to the Chinese television, you’ll find nothing but support for these calls to action. Climate change, says CCTV, poses a great threats to China and world. International treaties on climate change are frequently heralded as important and necessary. However, even as China supports these agreements, it consistently makes the point that it is a ‘developing country’ – it must balance the need to protect the environment with the need to improve the lives of its large rural populations and burgeoning urban centers.

Article about China and environment policy, Seed Magazine

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