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The New Anti-Pollution Hundred Flowers Movement

So China is planning on doing a massive census on businesses and farms, stating that if they provide accurate data on how much they pollute, they will be exempt from fines and prosecution. This sounds so much like the Hundred Flowers Movement that I’d be surprised if any firms will actually cooperate. First, a little history lesson:

Back in the 1950’s when the People’s Republic of China was still youthful, vigorous, and trusted by the people, Mr. Zhou Enlai pushed forward the Hundred Flowers Movement to increase the diversity of thoughts and ideas in the government. Mao Zedong eventually supported this after the initial response was lackluster and soon, academics and intellectuals poured their grievances, ranging from criticism over the Party’s oppression of intellectuals and corruption to complaints that the people’s livelihood had not improved since the Party’s takeover. The CCP soon had enough and clamped down with the Anti-Rightist Movement, leading to arrests, beatings, criticisms, and executions of those who spoke out against the Party.

So while most Chinese people would not talk about this, it is actually a pretty well known event. As a result of this betrayal, most people would not speak out openly against the government as they dared to do during the Qing and Nationalist Party’s reigns.

Now the CCP is doing the same thing, expecting businesses and farmers to report their pollution levels. What is there to be gained if they report truthfully that they dump millions of barrels of toxic wastes into a river that is used just half a mile away by a village for drinking water? Why would a farmer tell the inspectors that he uses excessively large amounts of pesticides which could lead to the poisoning of people who eat them? There really is no reason at all that they would and almost all of them would definitely under-report.

So why is the Party doing this? They must surely know this would not lead to anything productive. Well, in my opinion, they are just doing this to show that the government is trying to do something about the pollution and the reason why pollution is so bad is because the evil capitalists refuse to cooperate. So maybe this isn’t a repeat of the Hundred Flowers Movement after all… it’s more like big promises made during American presidential elections while knowing that they’ll never pass in congress. Yeah, something like that…

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