Official blames foreigners for China’s pollution

China’s local environmental official believes foreigners should be blamed for China’s pollution problems

Guess who should be the latest victim of China’s environmental crisis blame game, according to some Chinese officials? It’s the foreigners.

A provincial environmental official said recently that foreigners should be blamed for China’s pollution, People.com, the official website for People’s Daily, reported.

Miao Xuegang, Director of the Anhui Provincial Environmental Protection Authority, said foreigners were being “hypocritical” when criticising China’s pollution problems.

“China is a big exporter and many foreigners have been benefiting from China’s green products. However, the pollution incurred during the production process are left in China. ”

The smoggy weather and the alleged ground water pollution have given environmental issues unprecedented high profile media coverage and aroused great public concern for pollution.

Miao’s “hypocritical” comment, which came amid strong public outcry for firm and efficient handling of the environmental issues, upset China’s green activists.

Liu Jianqiang, chinadialogue’s Beijing editor and a veteran environmentalist, wrote on his Sina Weibo: “following this logic, even Chinese people criticising China’s pollution would be hypocritical, for we ourselves are responsible for the pollution.”

Feng Yongfeng, founder of the Beijing-based NGO Green Beagle, told chinadialogue that officials lack the courage to face the gravity of environmental issues.

“Sometimes, they say it (pollution) is a necessary byproduct of development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Other times, they blame China’s world factory status for environmental issues,” Feng said, adding “it doesn’t matter who the products are selling to or whether China’s the world factory. The only thing that matters is whether every act of production has complied with the basic requirement of environmental protection principles.”

As controversial comments goes, Miao’s “hypocritical” comment was not the only one that attracted media attention. Days ago, deputy secretary of Yunnan’s provincial Communist Party Committee, Qiu He, a charismatic official in China who already has quite a few memorable media soundbites, said that water resources flowing to neighbouring countries were wasted.

Qiu suggested at the Two Sessions, annual meetings for China’s parliament and political advisory body, that China should use dams to store water so that it won’t all flow to other countries and be wasted.

However, blaming foreigners for China’s environmental issues or benefitting at other countries’ costs is, perhaps, not the best way to reassure China’s green activists or honour China’s commitment to an Eco-civilisation.

Commenting on Qiu He’s suggestion, Feng Yongfeng said “only those stupid officials would spend all their time thinking of ways to appropriate all natural resources for one single country’s use…those who did so should resign as soon as possible”.