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It's Big Brother Meets Silent Spring

Also in danger are the hundreds of millions of innocent Chinese citizens, who face extreme "Death by China on China" risks from China's pollution-rife economic growth model, its rigid, class-based Communist Party theocracy, and an "Orwell on steroids" totalitarianism.

On the pollution front, an overreliance on an export-driven, heavy manufacturing economy has turned the atmosphere over China's industrial heartland into the world's biggest toxic cloud and shroud. More than 70% of China's major lakes, rivers, and streams are severely polluted. Even a popular tourist cruise down the Yangtze River, above the Three Gorges Dam, reveals that this once-pristine Chinese national treasure where Mao once swam is now virtually devoid of birds and visible signs of aquatic life.

Meanwhile, "What happens in China doesn't stay in China." As Chinese factories churn out a flood of products destined for the shelves of Target and Walmart, China's particularly virulent brand of air pollution rides more than 6,000 miles along the jet stream to California, dropping toxic waste all along the way. Today, most of the acid rain in Japan and South Korea is "Made in China," while an increasing share of the fine particulate found in the air in West Coast cities like Los Angeles likewise started out in a Chinese factory.

As for the risks posed by China's rigid, class-based society, the bitter, ironic truth here is that the ruling Communist Party oversees not a true "People's Republic" but rather its own secular theocracy. While Marx turns over in his grave and a pickled Mao stares glassy-eyed from his crystal coffin in Tiananmen Square, a relatively small fraction of the Chinese population grows fabulously rich even as one billion Chinese citizens continue to live in a Hobbesian world of grinding poverty without access to adequate health care and where even a minor sickness can become a death sentence.

China's totalitarian politics are equally appalling. To quell dissent, the Communist Party relies on a police and paramilitary force numbering more than one million. Its Orwellian web also features some 50,000 cyber cops. Together, these real and virtual jackboots are unrelenting in their repression and suppression.

  • Try to organize your workplace, and you are beaten and then fired.
  • Stand up for human rights or women's rights, and you are mercilessly hounded, placed under house arrest, or simply "disappeared."
  • Be revealed as a Falun Gong practitioner or "closet Catholic," and get ready to have your "deviant thoughts" washed right out of your brain.

The linchpin of such Chinese repression is a grim archipelago of forced labor camps to which millions of Chinese citizens have been exiled—often without trial. For those imprisoned in China's Laogai gulag, it could be worse; according to Amnesty International, the People's Republic annually executes several times more of its own people than the rest of the world combined.

At least lethal injection is now preferred to the traditional bullet to the brain. It is not compassion, however, driving this capital punishment "reform." It is simply that injections are cheaper to clean up, provide less risk of HIV infection to the executioners, and make it much easier to harvest the victim's organs for sale on the black market.

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