Many have already posted on pollution in China, but I found this article telling a different story than we are used to on the matter. In a reversal of Government policy, the CCP has created new rules requiring over 15000 institutions, even some of the biggest state owned ones, to not only record, but to “to make public in real time details of their air pollution, waste water and heavy-metals discharges” (Economist). In recent years such data had been collected secretly by the Government, but was never allowed to see the light of day.
The growing concerns of citizens about pollution served as the main impetus behind the change in the CCP’s policy on pollution data. A recent poll found that pollution ranked fourth on citizen’s list of concerns, coming in behind inflation, corruption, and inequality. While simply publishing the data will not fix the emissions problem alone, it will fuel public awareness and consumers can make informed decisions. I find it interesting that this reform comes from the bottom up, in a grass roots sort of manner. It reminds me of the Li book, in which the author emphasizes that the farmers were not powerless to the almighty government, but rather there were exchanges and pressures from farmers that helped to shape policy.
Further Reading: The Economist