More good news from China

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Jul 17 12:23:22 MDT 1995


Louis Proyect

And so the gold seekers come, lugging their tents and mess kits and
mud-crusted sheepskins for warmth and leaving behind farms or low-
paying factory jobs. With an estimated 130 million Chinese designated
as "surplus labor" in the countryside, the pool of potential miners
tempted by tales of riches in the mountains is huge.

Across Qinghai Province, known for its high plateau grasslands, its
sweeping mountain ranges and barren deserts, tens of thousands of
Chinese peasants, often supervised by gold lords, are shredding
mountainsides with explosives, poisoning rivers with their runoff and
weakening Government control of vast, remote tracts in western
China.

The environmental damage is bedeviling central authorities concerned
that the country's already degraded base of natural resources is being
depleted.

The Qinhai Daily newspaper recently complained that widespread and
unregulated gold mining had seriously damaged state-owned mining
areas, added to soil erosion along major rivers and pushed some rare
animal species, like the snow leopard and white-lipped deer, toward
extinction.

(NY Times, p.A5, July 17, 1995)

PS:
The subject heading "More good news from China" is ironic, in other words,
the meaning is just the opposite--its really bad news. This tendency toward
irony is a bad habit I'm trying to break. I believe it comes from being
exposed to Lenny Bruce at an early age.



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