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Paul Hayden

Where's the Outrage over Pollution in China?

August 4, 2008

If the upcoming Olympic games in Beijing don't expose the utter hypocrisy of the environmental extremists, then nothing else will.

Get this:  The International Olympic Committee has said it may postpone long-distance endurance events if air pollution is too severe. This should bring gasps of horror to the likes of Al Gore and his ilk. This should be causing the usual uproars, protests, demonstrations and threats of boycotts for which liberals are so well-known. Why isn't it?

Well, for one thing, other countries, especially non-Western ones, don't seem to be held to any real environmental standards by the world community. Secondly, our drive-by media seems to have a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil attitude toward other countries, especially those of a Communist persuasion.

After all, this isn't just some excessive CO2 emissions we're talking about. This is genuine, debilitating smog, the kind that used to blanket many U.S. cities. This is the type of smog that could have a significant impact on the athletes' performance. For example, the pollution contributed to world marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie pulling out of the event in Beijing, and instead focusing on the 10,000m.

Visualize, if you will, how this situation would be handled if the media were dominated by conservatives. The steady drumbeat of criticism of China's utter lack of pollution control would be all we'd hear about, to the point where the majority would probably be demanding that our athletes pull out of the games entirely. But that would only be the beginning.

If the public were properly energized on this issue, there would some real questioning as to why the U.S. is being blamed for so much of the world's environmental problems given what's happening in China. Perhaps a few Republican candidates for Congress (and even the White House) might reconsider their pandering on so-called climate change and environmental issues in general.

It's also important to note that this problem didn't just sneak up on China.  They have known for several years now that they would be hosting the Summer 2008 Olympic Games, just as surely as they knew that for many years now their major cities have significant pollution problems. Yet their answer to this impending crisis is to force polluting industries to shut down for a few weeks, take a few thousand cars off the city streets, and call it good. Not exactly a model of being proactive when the situation demands it. Apparently, the Red Chinese haven't bought into Gore's environmental fable, An Inconvenient Truth.  And with greater economic growth, despite the Communist government rather than because of it, and the more industry and auto pollution that brings, China's environmental problems stand only to worsen in the months and years to come.

In the mean time, what besides weak moral suasion from the West will motivate the Communist Chinese to implement environmental reforms? After all, these things take time and cost a lot of money. Communist China's competitiveness in the world community is at stake, and when the choice is between pollution reduction and continuing to beat up on the competition, you can guess which path will be chosen. And when it comes to confronting the Chinese on their environmental failures, the West is well aware that they cannot do it nicely and expect any meaningful results. And it's clear that they're not willing to get tough; no, they save that for us in America.

There may be demonstrations at the upcoming Olympic games, due to the outrage many people around the world feel toward Communist China's iron grip on Tibet, the injustice of which has been symbolized by the ubiquitous Dalai Lama. However, don't expect those protestors to say much, if anything, about the haze of Beijing through their nose masks.

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Copyright ©2008 Phil Perkins