China has grown in power, but at a terrible cost to environment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2016, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2016, 4:39pm

I refer to the letter by George Hong (“Hongkongers forget PRC’s achievements”, May 4).

I strongly disagree that China has brought “millions of people out of poverty” and that the reason some Hongkongers supporting independence is because they worship “Western culture”.

Also, what does he mean by saying that the “Chinese style of communism” has “its own kind of democracy”?

When I look at the Chinese style of communism, I see fatal failures in the past and believe we will see more in the future.

It is true China has become wealthier and influential globally, but there is no free lunch. You have to pay to get something in return. To gain the status of the world’s factory, its environment has suffered.

China is notorious for its serious levels of pollution, and especially worrying is the air pollution in Beijing. I believe some of this environmental damage is irreversible. To allow this to happen for temporary wealth is a serious mistake. This does not represent sustainable development for the country. As the cost of producing goods increases, companies will move their factories to other developing countries where production costs are lower.

China has been able to make a small group of people very rich with growing numbers of millionaires and billionaires. While they enjoy their wealth, there are still many people in the country who are struggling to survive and suffering from poverty. These citizens on low incomes should not be ignored. Unless their conditions improve, China cannot be seen as a truly strong and wealthy country.

Your correspondent seems to ignore the fact that the lack of democracy is still a very serious problem in China. I believe that basic human rights should be respected. In China, people do not have freedom of speech or of the press. Citizens cannot access websites like YouTube and Facebook. They are not given the chance to learn about the dark side of the nation’s history, such as the June 4 incident in 1989. And, above all, they are not allowed to fight for their rights. If any experience unfairness in society, their efforts to seek redress are suppressed. The law favours those in power.

China has a clear constitution, but so often it is not applied by the courts.

The country cannot be described as successful until there is a fairer distribution of wealth and its people can enjoy a more democratic society.

To Yan-miu, Wan Chai