Power-hungry militarists must not squander China's wealth

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 May, 2010, 12:00am

The second anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake [on May 12] reminded us that more than 80,000 people died, many of them children in shabbily constructed schools.

The state-controlled media routinely focuses on the heroic rescue efforts following these 'unpredictable'' disasters. But this not the case with earthquakes in China.

In fact, we can safely predict that there will be many such tragedies within the next few years, given the seismic forces active in the central part of the country and the shoddy state of many buildings.

A well-known proverb says, 'To govern is to foresee'.

Since governments exist to promote the security of citizens, China's rulers must prepare for recurring earthquakes by funding advanced seismic research, by improving prediction methods and by building safer homes and schools.

Of course, this costs money and politicians prefer to spend revenue on grandiose projects like world expos, Olympic self-glorification, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, ballistic missiles, space travel, expanded armies and navies and similar outdated extravaganzas.

This show-off expenditure is like the father of a family who spends his income on mistresses and flashy cars instead of caring for his wife and children.

Perfect examples of this kind of attitude are the former Soviet Union and the current United States, squandering wealth on the pursuit of global supremacy.

A nouveau riche China now wants to follow the same dead-end road.

When will our leaders, our people and the media begin to end this stupidity?

In our age, the main dangers to mankind do not come from other fellow human beings (even idiotic terrorists like Osama bin Laden) but from a violated and angry Mother Nature.

Many more people will die from global warming, sea level rises, earthquakes, volcanic activity, tsunamis, epidemics, malnutrition, pollution, floods and droughts than from human violence unless statesmen and scientists do not prevent and mitigate these disasters.

Every dollar, every yuan, every scientific effort spent on outdated and destructive weapons is a form of theft, on a worldwide scale.

Chinese scientists and all scientists around the world should be devoted to saving life, not destroying it.

China can greatly benefit humanity by using its resources not to seek military supremacy, but to pursue peaceful and scientific solutions to the above-listed dangers.

It should not allow power-hungry militarists to squander its wealth on their destructive agenda.

J. Garner, Sham Shui Po