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‘The rich consume and the poor suffer the pollution’

‘The rich consume and the poor suffer the pollution’

environmental justice in the People’s Republic of China

Chapter:
(p.141) EIGHT ‘The rich consume and the poor suffer the pollution’
Source:
Achieving environmental justice
Author(s):
Karen Bell
Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447305941.003.0008

China, as a nominally socialist country that is famously beset with serious environmental problems, appears to contradict the theory that it is capitalism that has produced the global ecological crisis. Some avoid this conclusion by arguing that China is now, or always has been, a capitalist country, so that there is no inconsistency. Whether or not this is the case is a contentious debate, attracting fiercely opposing views, but most would agree that China certainly no longer conforms to the standard socialist model. This chapter describes how new legislation and collective action have enabled significant improvements in environmental policy making in China over the last decade. However, it also shows how, as in the United States and other countries, the impressive legal and institutional developments have, so far, failed to produce a reasonable level of environmental justice.

Keywords:   China, communism, pollution, Special Economic Zones, economic growth, population, ethnicity, Hokou system, NGO, ecological civilisation

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