China is becoming well-known as being the next global super power. It is an NIC that is experiencing economic growth rates of 10% per year. it’s growth stems from the increasing global demand for cheap, yet high quality goods, which China can provide thanks to imports of natural resources from countries such as Mongolia, where China imports most of its coal from. China’s primary fuel source is coal as it generates 80% of its electricity from coal. although this is fueling massive economic growth in China it is the cause of one of the main consequences of China’s growth as coal is considered the most polluting of the three main fossil fuels. China is growing but is also paying the price for this rapid growth in several ways.
one of the major consequences of China’s growth is the creation of several major health problems for the public. health issues resulting from air pollution is a major problem and it has contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths as well as leading to increases in respiratory illnesses and lung cancer. also there are issues with water pollution and farm land becoming contaminated with chemicals. one-quarter of Chinese lack safe drinking water as a result of chemicals are leaking into water sources from industrial buildings due to poor regulation of chemical disposal with 70% of all lakes and rivers being polluted to some extent. 70% of farmland is also contaminated by chemicals and this polluted farmland means that pollutants have got into the food grown on that land. this has been linked with higher cancer rates in some areas of China, overall China has seen an 80% rise in Cancer rates compared to 30 years ago.
There are also other social issues that can be related to China’s rapid economic development. In Beijing, 64 million Chinese households have had their land seized or their homes demolished during the decades of the building boom. these people were often evicted by force and received very little compensation for what they had lost. also one of the reasons China has become such a big exporter of goods is because it has the manual workforce to do so. profits are kept high to keep its economy competitive, with the consequences being that labour is cheap which has led to low standards of living for the millions of Chinese who work to produce these goods. although new laws have been introduced to improve workers wages, and working conditions, many companies didn’t agree to these and this resulted in several factories closing down, resulting in job losses.
Furthermore with such a big economy, there has been high rates of corruption to go with it. it has been estimated that 80% of China’s government officials are corrupt in some way which is costing China 3% of its GDP annually.
There are clearly a lot of consequences for China as a result of its rapid development of late and as China continues to pick up pace and grow even more, it is very likely that these consequences will only get worse. it shows that whilst development can have a lot of benefits for a country and its people, when a country becomes too developed or tries to develop itself too quickly it can really start to become a victim of its own success.
- information sourced from notes I took during my A level geography lessons
- information about PM 2.5 levels in caption sourced from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/china-toxic-air-pollution-nuclear-winter-scientists
- information about levels of coal use in china sourced from http://www.chinafaqs.org/issue/coal-electricity