Social Issues


Foremost among its problems is air pollution. The World Bank reports that China is home to 5 of the world’s 10 most polluted cities. "In Beijing, the capital, a heavy, gray smog now hangs permanently over the city and is blamed for health problems- from eye irritation to asthma to other major illnesses that can cause death. Residents recall that air pollution got so bad earlier this year that during one storm, it rained mud."1 "Particulate pollution is known to contribute to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease…causing 26% of deaths. Water pollution also ranks as one of the most severe in the world…Currently 24% of the population is drinking very polluted water and 70% is drinking somewhat polluted water."2

1  Pollution Control High on US-China Agenda, L.A. Times, July 2, 1998, at A1. [hereafter Pollution Control]

2  Li Peng, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (1997). <>.