China's growing water crisis
China said that more than 24 million people were short of drinking water in 2010 because of a crippling drought, the worst to hit the country in a century. (Getty Images)
August 10th, 2011
03:45 PM ET

China's growing water crisis

Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of World Politics Review. For more from WPR, sign up for a free trial of their subscription service, get their weekly e-mail, or follow them on Twitter.

By Elizabeth Economy, World Politics Review

What is the biggest challenge that China faces?

Corruption, the gap between the rich and poor, and the rapidly aging population often top the list of answers to this question.

Yet a closer look suggests that the greatest threat may well be lack of access to clean water. From "cancer villages" to violent protests to rising food prices, diminishing water supplies are exerting a profound and harmful effect on the Chinese people as well as on the country's capacity to continue to prosper economically.

While much of the challenge remains within China, spillover effects - such as the rerouting of transnational rivers and a push to acquire arable land abroad - are also being felt well outside the country's borders.

China's leaders have acknowledged the severity of the challenge and have adopted a number of policies to address their growing crisis. However, their efforts have fallen woefully short, as they fail to include the fundamental reforms necessary to turn the situation around. Meanwhile domestic pressures, as well as international concerns, continue to mount.

Development Run Amok

China's water story begins with a challenging reality: The country's per capita water resources just exceeded more than one-quarter that of the world average, and the distribution of those resources throughout the country is highly uneven.

Northern China is home to approximately 40 percent of the country's total population and almost half its agricultural land, and produces more than 50 percent of GDP. But it receives only 12 percent of total precipitation. Southern China, in contrast, receives 80 percent of China's total precipitation, yet skyrocketing levels of water pollution dramatically reduce the south's natural advantage.

The spectacular economic growth that has made China the envy of the world has only exacerbated the challenge. Resources, particularly water, are consumed without consideration for future demand. Industry and agriculture are notoriously profligate water consumers: Industry, which accounts for about one-quarter of China's total water consumption, uses anywhere from four to 10 times more water per unit of GDP as other competitive economies.

Water used for energy is a singularly important drain on China's scarce resources. By far, the largest portion of China's industrial water use is devoted to energy: The process of mining, processing and consuming coal alone accounts for almost 20 percent of all water consumed nationally.

Hydropower raises the bar even further. Already the largest producer of hydropower in the world, China plans to triple hydropower capacity by 2020. According to Ma Jun, the director of the Chinese NGO Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, many Chinese rivers simply won't be running in 2020 if China meets its hydropower capacity goals.

Read: In China, poor management is the biggest threat to the Communist Party's domestic credibility.

Agriculture, which accounts for 62 percent of China's total water consumption, also takes a serious toll on China's water supply. Almost two-thirds of China's arable land lies in the perennially dry north, and irrigation practices in China continue to be inefficient, with less than half of the water used for irrigation actually reaching crops.

Even municipalities suffer from serious water wastage: About 20 percent of urban water consumption is lost through leaky pipes. China's goal of urbanizing 400 million people by 2030 means that the water challenge will likely only increase. Urban, middle class residents - with water-consuming appliances, homes with lawns to water and a fondness for golf courses - use 300 percent more water than their rural counterparts.

China's widespread pollution adds another dimension to the country's water crisis. More than 90 percent of southern China's water withdrawal comes from surface water, but in the first half of 2010, almost a quarter of China's surface water was so polluted that it was not even usable for industry, and less than half of the total supplies of water were found to be drinkable. For decades, factories and municipalities have dumped untreated waste directly into streams, rivers and coastal waters.

Read: China's local debt problem needs politics, not economic solutions.

The Shifting Landscape

China's economic growth, inefficiencies and wastage in water usage are transforming the geography and resource base of the country. First, the sheer amount of available water is declining. During the period from 2000 to 2009, the amount of accessible water in China decreased by 13 percent. By 2030, the Ministry of Water Resources anticipates that per capita water resources will decline below the World Bank's scarcity levels. Northern China reports some of the highest rates of water loss in the world.

Moreover, according to China's Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei, two-thirds of Chinese cities face increased scarcity of water, and overall the country confronts a water shortage of 40 billion cubic meters annually. In rural China, 320 million people - one-quarter of China's total population - don't have access to safe drinking water.

Second, the country is sinking. The extensive contamination of surface water has forced the Chinese to increase their exploitation of groundwater, leading to groundwater depletion and a dramatic drop in the ground water tables: 100 to 300 meters in Beijing, and up to 90 meters in other parts of China.

In Beijing, land subsidence resulting from this groundwater depletion has destroyed factories, buildings and underground pipelines. Saltwater intrusion as well as pollution is further compromising the diminishing groundwater supplies: Of the 182 cities with monitored groundwater in 2010, more than half registered "poor" to "extremely poor" in water quality. Even China's Ministry of Environmental Protection was forced to acknowledge, "It is not easy to be optimistic about the quality" of the groundwater.

Read: China, Taiwan warming to military cooperation in the South China Sea?

Finally, desertification is advancing. While the south is often faced with catastrophic floods, desertification of the north has become widespread: One Chinese official estimated that it would take 300 years to reverse the desertification of lands that has already taken place - the majority in areas bordering the North's Gobi Desert - due to overexploitation of environmental resources. Even as local officials fight to reverse the trend, the desert continues to expand at a rate of more than 1,060 square miles per year.

The Hidden Costs

What really concerns China's leaders, however, are the social, economic and political impacts of this growing scarcity. As China's Minister for the Environment Zhou Shengxian suggested on his agency's website, "The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to the nation's economic and social development."

For the Chinese people, the failure of local officials and factory managers to enforce environmental regulations translates into serious public health concerns, crop loss, poisoned fish and livestock, and a lack of water to run factories. For Chinese officials, the failure to protect the environment and provide adequate and safe water to their people is one of the chief causes of social unrest in the country and perhaps their greatest policy concern.

Read more at World Politics Review.

Post by:
Topics: China • Water

soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    "While the south is often faced with catastrophic floods, desertification of the north has become widespread". These extremes aren't unique and climate change can be an explanation. The reason why water is getting scarce and expensive, is that it is traded as a commodity. In some countries water is no longer a public good and private companies supply the households with clean tap water.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • Peter Jones

      It is just a biased media issue. The Jaapanese radioisotope pollution is more disastrous. Why is the media silent?

      August 12, 2011 at 11:02 am | Reply
      • wassi

        you americans got big mouth can't you see your own problems in your country infact you are the terrorist yourself apart from from supporting them
        the real issue is what the world is doing and what the muslims are doing for Palestinian issue do you or your media have any idea with what misery Palestinians are going thorough every single day

        August 13, 2011 at 2:56 am |
      • Reasonable1

        @wassi Palestinians are terrorists. Why are you on their side?

        August 13, 2011 at 9:53 am |
      • time

        @wassi...what's the palestinian issue got to do with the water crisis?

        August 13, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • 个人个人

      you mean privatizing water is the solution to the problem? I think you are dreaming. privatizing public goods will lead to catastrophy. rise in price and unfair allocation of resources are the least problems to worry. political manipulation and monoply are the worst to worry.

      August 13, 2011 at 6:19 am | Reply
    • Kirth

      Tap water in China? it is terrible! You should use bottled water for everything even cooking if you don't want to get sick. Who knows if because of dirty water chinese usually have unexplained kind of sickness. One of my colleagues went there for a business trip and one morning she turned on the kitchen faucet and found several worms coming out from there.

      August 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • Bill Rich

      You don't need to use climate change as an excuse. China has denuded its hills of forests in the 50's and 60's, causing desertification in 90 percent of grassland in China, land slides during rainy season and earth quakes, and rapid lost of plant material in soil all over the country. That's what caused the frequent "100 year" floods and droughts. There were some isolated failed effort in re-forestation to no avail.

      August 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • winston

      Climate changes tales its toll in CHINA.
      As long as the Communist Regime does not act nature conservation and wise water distribution...China will continue to face water crisis.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:32 am | Reply
  2. huyu

    The world should know that other than praises for our fellow men in other countries such as India, we Chinese have nothing to say about other inhabitants of our shared planet. We would always find faults with ourselves for only then we can strive to improve, even if it proves to be impossible. Certainly sticking our nose into other people's knickers is not one of our habits.

    But, commerce, we are most enthusiastic for.

    These are nice knickers indeed. I have in possession 1,000 different styles here to satisfy your most basic and the most exciting carnal needs. From the most Economy models to the most Zakaria. Drop a call, and we can do business, just like Lady Baroness T. said.

    We have so many our own problems, if you know them yourself, your mind probably will explode. Because of our retardedly developed venting machines and lack of such propaganda splendors like the CNN, or Fox, or the New York Times, we usually get off by breaking your nose; whenever, for some reason my spit flies off onto your fragranced face. Or sometimes chopping a few heads off, especially when we have these water fights break out. I sometimes wonder how the Messers like Mr. Hu, Wen, Ho, and Whi can ever sleep; the jobs have to be a life expectancy killer bordering on self-assisted suicide, and so little pay, and not even a mistress or two.

    If you see any Young & Restless (FengQing) like our proverbial Mr. fish, just please please please, ignore him. How does he know that no one ever falls off the train in China while speeding at 200 miles per hour, and how would he know maybe some people prefer to sit on the roof of the train for a more splendid view, and indeed superior air to breathe in the scorching sun at a more leisurely pace.

    And indeed, on his miserly 5,000$ annual income, and a clear lack of in-the-know on our planetary affairs, how would he contribute to such galactical human endeavors as whether white cats are superior to the black cats, or the black ones to the white ones, or maybe even both. It is indeed much preferable to leave such high-intellectual exercises to our Mr. fish'es IQ beating western oratoriatators and Indian Brahmins.

    His patriotism is admirable, but it is not what most of us think in China. There is nothing in the world that we want other than to get the next bottle of Maotai (read expensive), my wife's next Gucci bag (fake actually), any my kids next lessons (rote learned anyways), the next car, the next house, or the next mistress (shhiii...).

    To claim that China will model this or that really is just a little bit over the top; our best known models are the ones most slimly clad, smiling splendidly, who whispers with that most tender, vibrating voice, while posing in the most fantastical ways at the Beijing Motor show. You see, that really got my plum in my mouth wriggling.

    For such mundane matters, we prefer to delegate to Uncle Sam. Nice Uncle indeed, who spends the money and body bags to trouble shoot for all us. It is a good bargain, we are already getting used to it.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • FreeTibet

      What ?! I have no idea what you are talking about.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:25 am | Reply
      • Maersk


        August 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
      • robh

        no matter what anyone says, the American system, with all its faults is preferable to that of an authoritarian system such as china's where the common man cannot hope to change things through the ballot box. they repress people based on religious beliefs, try to censosr what their citizens know by trying to control information on the internet, as well as a host of other vile practices. and their consumer products are notorious for being low quality junk. the only times its acceptable is when the American parent company micromanages every step of production ot ensure quality, like apple computer. in any event it boggles the mind to think a country such as china could evem momentarily be considered as as future leader of the world considering this. its like looking to a country that willl lead you back to the middle ages.

        August 11, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
      • time

        me too.

        August 13, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Barry

      How is China doing on improving their abysmal record of human rights abuses?

      When I think of the massacre at Tiananmen Square and the thousands of innocent people that died at the hands of the repressive Chinese Government, it makes me sick to my stomach.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • Maersk

        Kwok Head, do the crimes that your uncle have committed against the native Americans, Blacks, Laotians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Iraqis, and Afghans etc. make you sick to the stomach too? If not, you're just another typical American BS artist/kwok head.

        August 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
      • MichaelNC

        Uuummmm have you actually read any history books on the US? Because I'm not going to say we are worse than the Chinese, but saying we are better may require some revisionist history. Human rights violations? I live in NC where we still have survivors of forced sterilization. You do remember that slavery thing? Oh and the decimation of the native Americans? There was that prison in Iraq a few years ago, or that one in Cuba that we have to give special treatment to our special guests. The democratic government of Iran we overthrew in the 50s, or the Libyan government we are bombing now? While I understand we all had our reasons, I feel like over-exagerating the Chinese problem is back to that pot and kettle thing or that other thing about glass houses...

        August 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
      • AjaxSeaDog9er9er

        Have you watch this country sucked like a vaccuum cleaner lately JUST because of the MAN in the White House. Congress where are the jobs that you said that you were gonna help the president create for ALL the Americans. Solve OUR crap before messing in somebody else's.

        August 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
      • Julie in Austin

        @MichaelNC: Yes, 150-plus years ago the US government rounded up as many Native Americans as possible and force-marched them to Indian Territory with many dying along the way. And 150-plus years ago Africans were working on American plantations under threat of the whip or the noose.

        Those things happen in China =today=. When you buy that cheap plastic piece of crap from China, it was likely made with slave labor, or by people who were forcibly urbanized in a factor that dumps pollution into the air or water.

        August 12, 2011 at 8:17 am |
      • Coffegirl

        The U.S. hasn't got a foot to stand on...And anyone that strictly blames China for the pollution is really delusional...It is the American Companies/Corporations that are the ones polluting. Look up Levis, the Gap, Walmart. Remember all those darn regulations that Republicans want us to stop? China paves the road of what de regulation does and a Greedy Government! Nobody wins, well except the wealthy corps.

        To change the way things are in this country we need to separate ourselves from the people making the products, to the best of our ability. Bring back the Barter system until the Corps realize they need to do what is right for Earth, for man kind and will also see huge financial benefits by doing what is right for everyone.

        August 12, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • yuhu

      Chinese need to stop overpopulating the earth.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply
      • EmptySkull

        China actually has a lower birthrate compared to the US and many other western countries due to the 1 child policy. Contribution to overpopulation means population growth rate, not the absolute population number. Please study math.

        August 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
      • Rastamis

        EMPTYSKULL, the Easter Bunny is more believable then any statistic that the Chinese government provides to the rest of the world. Besides, it is only the Mexico Americans that are in the US that are inflating the birth rate here.

        August 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
      • Barb

        @ EmptySkull- The reason they now have a lower birth rate than the U.S. is because they would kill off female babies or have abortions if they discovered that the first born was a girl. Because of this, there is a huge surplus of males and few females left in China. That's why it's been big news lately of human trafficking in Chine. They are buying adult women and female children and babies in order to keep going.

        August 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
      • S

        Birthrate in U.S. is slightly higer approx. 13 per 1000 compared to China approx. 12 per 1000. Population growth includes deaths and immigration into the formula.

        August 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
      • Mrsims

        It's not just the Chinese. We all need to stop overpopulating the earth.

        August 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
      • george

        There is a whole ocean of water and you say it is overpopulation? The reason is not overpopulation the reason is that there is no insight, there is greed and stupidity ruling the Chinese government, and as Americans we need to watch the Chinese Military. If they cannot take care of what they have they will make efforts to take by force what they can not acquire by intellect.

        August 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
      • PatioDaddio

        I agree it's a worldly problem. I often wonder how friends of mine consciously have 3 or more kids and expect to help pay for their welfare and education. Many of these friends wear raggedy clothes and are miserable inside. We sensationalize shows with families that have 8 to 19 kids as if that was cool. Have kids within your means...keep it zipped up.

        August 12, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • cris

      HUH?!? no clue what is your point?

      August 11, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • cris

      EmptySkull... you believe that statement, so you should also believe that Bigfoot and the Yeti are related? please get some real facts before making a statement like that.

      August 11, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
      • EmptySkull

        2005-2010 List by the United Nations
        US population growth rate: 0.97%
        China population growth rate: 0.48%

        Bigfoot and Yeti? Do you even know how to stay relevant in a debate?

        August 11, 2011 at 11:36 am |
      • surf's up2010

        Empty Skull, what are you arguing? The fact that China's government is so horrible that they control how many children people can have? It's not necessary to inform people that China is a horrible country where people's lives are controlled by the government and even the most basic choices are controlled.

        August 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • huyuyu

      Huyu, it is so amazing to the rest the world just how incredibly self-righteous and blatantly ignorant your comments are, like most other comments posted by proud-to-be-Chinese. Don't you Chinese understand that the rest of the world is laughing at you because you bully powerless people, claim autonomous people as belonging to China, destroy everything (eg, nature, people) for money, and worst of all.... because you are cheat and lie in front of everyone, but think that as long as you pretend otherwise, the rest of the world will not see your shamelessness? You people are an embarrassment to humanity. Please stop posting at CNN. Go post on sites controlled by China, where the only news is how great you guys are, and horrible the rest of the world is.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
      • Khrys

        huyuyu, I believe you have just described the United States too.

        August 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
      • FreeTibet

        If and ever China replace United States as The superpower, people will realize how nice of superpower US has been compare to China. I bet lots of people heard of china claiming south china sea. Just look up where it is. It is the sea beetween Vietnam and Philliphine. It is no where near China. Yet, it is their's China blame US for being an imperialistic power. Yet it is what China had been and what it wants to be again. But this time around, it will be lot more shameless and ruthless.

        August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Peter

      It is an automated propaganda post from someone in China. I have seen it posted in other articles. China government is hard at work. It is well said though.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Reply
      • Maersk

        You must be the spokeswoman for uncle Sam. Would you please bend over a little just to make it a little easier for your uncle?

        August 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
      • Julie in Austin

        What's been written about China - on the negative side - is 100% truth. They are going through a forced "urbanization" program, where they force people from the country, where the government has less control into the cities, where there aren't enough jobs, pollution is so horrible the air is brown most of the time. They are polluting their rivers to the point many have changed color and they can no long be used for drinking or fishing or irrigation. They steal the intellectual property and products of the companies that build products there. Their "One Child" policy has produced a 126 males to 100 females ratio where one of the greatest exports has been female babies for the past many decades.

        August 12, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • ak2k

      I think you are confusing the Chinese people not sticking their nose into other people's knickers with the oppresive censorship of media by your government.
      I've always known it was a matter of time before China collapses under its own weight.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Valhalla

      Annexing Tibet, Turkestan, Inner Mongolia, etc doesn't count as 'sticking your nose in others business'? What about the 3 failed attempts to annex Vietnam by force of arms? What about imperialist ambitions against the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc?

      August 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      This is hilarious....very well written....I do know shey-shey..

      August 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Too many Chinks, that's it

      August 12, 2011 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • BigRed

      Wow. Just reading your post gives me the heady feeling that this is Wonderland at last.

      August 12, 2011 at 8:33 am | Reply
    • Sooner in China

      Wu Mao ren

      August 13, 2011 at 12:18 am | Reply
    • Kyle H Davis

      Two words.... Clozapine and Lithium... check into them.

      August 13, 2011 at 2:36 am | Reply
    • C&P

      I'm sorry...but i really don't have a clue....ur weird expression and word choice really puzzles...

      August 15, 2011 at 2:10 am | Reply
  3. Manoj Bharat Kumar

    When China conquered Tibet, India lost its greatest assets – the Himalyan glaciers that are the sources of its largest rivers in the north and east – like Brahmaputra – on whose banks most Indians live. These are very densely populated river plains since very ancient times. India's western rivers are already running dry. If China ever decides to divert water from Tibet to its east – that conflict could be the end of the world.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Reply
    • Jacob

      This is one of the reasons Britain invaded Tibet in 1903, to secure water resources for colonial India. Their failure to take Tibet ended with Britian signing an agreement acknowledging China's sovereignty over Tibet in 1904.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  4. That'snotTrue:(

    ...............Wow, compared to the last article this is more realistic and informative.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  5. Kumar

    Absolutely, super power India will not only take over Tibet, but also we will eliminate the Chinese nation. That way our Hindu superiority will prevail over the yellow man and also rule the world with our curries. Rule super duper power India. Jai HInd!

    August 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
    • cris

      Where's Harold?!?

      August 11, 2011 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • Peter

      Way to go India, I can live with curries, but without freedom of speech.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Peter

      I mean ... not without freedom of speech.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Khrys

      So now can I call you a not-as-black man?

      August 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Panzerkom

      dude, totally, china is going DOWN! with the help of true Indian patriots like Fareed Zakaria, India will rule the world!

      now, if you will, please follow Mr. Zakaria in saying the following in a true India accent, "Welcome to India."

      August 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • Jacob

      Kumar, you are not living in reality. In 2008, the entire city of Mumbai was helpless at the hands of 10 terrorists, and it took India's police and military 3 days to regain control. If 10 people can hold off the Indian military for 3 days, inside Mumbai itself, India has zero chance against China in Tibet or anywhere else.

      Despite their expensive weapons purchased from the US and Europe, India's military is a complete joke. Also, if you think a county where 50% of the children are malnourished, and 30% of adults can't read and write is going to become a superpower, you are delusional. India needs to stop wasting so much money on weapons, and figure out a way to feed its people and boost literacy.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Kumar you are an idiot....first get the Indian's to pass the anti-corruption laws....Jan Lokpal Bill. Have you not figured out by now that we all share one small planet....and its getting more and more smaller.....

      August 12, 2011 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • xyz

      Why is that pakistanis post as Indians here?? coz they are ashamed of themselves hehehe..

      August 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  6. Lucille

    Rejection of God's word brings about drought.

    August 11, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • Lee S

      Proof? There are plenty of christians in China and Asia for that matter. Christianity is the second largest religion in Asia. Oh wait, I forgot , you cant prove anything that isnt real. Sorry, I asked.

      August 11, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • Shawn

      Funny, as Texas is one of the most fundamentalist Christian right wing nutjob states we have in the US, and they've been fighting their worst drought in history for years.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • FDLS

      I, God, hates you and all that pretend to be in my favor.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • Kman

      Exactly right...the Koran is God's word and should not be rejected...except by those who also reject the Bible and other religious literature.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • AlexK

      Your wrong. Its not about accepting or rejecting God's words. Its about acting on the lessons he has given us. Those lessons include compassion and charity. God loves those that go out of their way to help others in need. God scorns those who pass judgement on the less fortunate. Passing judgement is God's job not yours. Your job is to help mankind flourish regardless of their race, religion, gender or ethnicity.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • God

      I can't believe I created all you idiots.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • Seekuvyou Anpistov

        God? I love you!!!! Can your son come out to play?

        August 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • FreeTibet

      Bangladesh is 99% non Christian and they get dumped with rain ever year.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  7. Wangchuk

    China has huge environmental problems primarily caused by the CCP's push for never-ending GDP growth & construction. 16 of the top 20 polluted cities are in China. More than 50% of Chinese lakes & rivers are polluted & undrinkable. The CCP also plans to divert Tibet's water to China but of course Tibetans in Tibet have no say on the issue as these decisions are made in Beijing. If Tibetans do speak up & object to China's water diversion plan, they might find themselves arrested.

    August 11, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • EmptySkull

      The same is true in other provinces when the general public disagrees with the government's policies, so this is not something limited to Tibet. Singling out Tibet in your post just shows that you are trying to inject your agenda and political bias.

      August 11, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
      • surf's up2010

        Yeah, he has a terrible agenda, to voice his opinion on how China has seized Tibet, controls the people there and lies to the world about it. He is terrible for pushing the agenda of letting Tibetan people regain the land that was robbed from them by Chinese thugs.

        August 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • cris

      At least they now have an Aircraft Carrier... sigh...

      August 11, 2011 at 11:33 am | Reply
      • Soulcatcher

        what goes mach 20 and boom?

        August 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  8. Barry

    China is finally catching up with the rest of the world, including in terms of pollution, fresh water shortages, economic troubles, job shortages and food shortages in rural areas, etc..

    Welcome to the modern world.

    August 11, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • surf's up2010

      china is catching up with the world in population? Sir, quit posting I think you are drunk.

      August 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • Georgina

      They've certainly caught up with pollution. This summer it has been awful in Beijing. I think most days the pollution level has been around 200- 300. It's so humid. Too many people drive and don't understand that cars cause pollution. They even have articles posted in the newspapers here that say too many sunny days cause depression. A local friend told me that and I asked her if they put that article in the newspaper so people don't feel bad about the pollution. This is the worst summer yet.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  9. Barry

    Hey Huyu,

    How is China doing on improving their abysmal record of human rights abuses?

    When I think of the massacre at Tiananmen Square and the thousands of innocent people that died at the hands of the repressive Chinese Government, it makes me sick to my stomach.

    August 11, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • Barry2

      How is the US doing on improving their abysmal record of human rights abuses?

      When I think of the massacre and wholesale extermination of millions of innocent native American people that died at the hands of the repressive US Government (and colonists before it), it makes me sick to my stomach.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
      • Lee S

        Hey Barry2, if thats youre real name you sound American to me. The door is open to leave anytime you clown.

        August 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
      • Rastamis

        Uhm, go live in China for a couple years and tell us how that works out for you. Or Russia, Malaysia, Africa, or India, better yet, head over to Juarez Mexico and let us know how their clean water and unemployment benefits, oh yah, and human rights compare to the United States.
        Also, if you are so sickened about what happened to American Indians, I assume you have been to a reservation to do volunteer work? Or at least you donate your money to charity? RIGHT?

        August 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • Relax

        Hey! We named sports teams after them. That doesn't happen for just anybody. That makes us even now.

        August 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  10. Buckaroo Bill

    Water conservation practices barely exists on our planet. The Chinese use irrigation technologies that increases the depletion of water up to 10% per year. The global investment for irrigation is available but governments squander the money and nothing gets done on schedule. Many countries wait until it is too late.

    August 11, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
  11. Are you kidding?

    And we want to scrap environmental regulation here in the states?!?!?!

    August 11, 2011 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • AmesIA

      Drive to the mean. If the mean is polluted rivers, smog, poor schools and a 6 day 60 hour work week globalization will drive us to that mean. Our greed. Our leaders drive for profit without regard for ethics are all fueling a drive to push the real costs of our industries onto the powerless.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  12. Diallo Burke

    I am currently working on a simple process that turns human waste, sunlight, and a variety of other energy sources into clean drinkable water. Waiting on my bank to call me back for my loan, then hopefully I can start getting this technology to the places that need it. The technology can potentially be used in space shuttles and for generating water for new planets. I feel that we should work on desalination technologies though, which i can also improve. Climate change/ rising global temperatures is releasing fresh water into the oceans that will cause global sea levels to rise. We should redistribute this water and desalinize it in a environmental friendly way, to mediate the effects of climate change and minimize the effects on island nations.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:33 am | Reply
    • Overpopulation Kills

      I praise your efforts and good luck

      August 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • AlexK

      Sounds pretty cool. Good luck!

      August 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • lol

      "Man, this water tastes like $h!t."

      August 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  13. Al

    If China dries up and blows away , what will happen to WalMart?

    August 11, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Peter

      They just pollute another country, probably India.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • duh!

      That can't happen to China. Wal-Mart sells water. Problem solved.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  14. seeitoldyou

    China is economically is growing to fast, its like blowing bubble gum, blow to hard you get a big bubble but it will pop quickly.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply
    • seeitoldyou

      *China economically growing

      August 11, 2011 at 11:53 am | Reply
      • SpellBot

        Also it's "too fast".

        August 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
      • SpellBot

        Also, put a period after "fast". Change. "its" to It's". Put a period after "gum". Capitalize "blow". Change "to fast" to "too fast". Put a period after "bubble". Capitalize "But".

        August 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
      • SpellBot

        Also, change "to hard" to "too hard".

        August 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
      • Kman're retarded. aparently you agree with seeitoldyou but feel his (her) grammar needs fixing.
        Hows myne doin?

        August 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  15. SarahPalin

    I love chinese food. When you elect me president, I will invite the chinese to the white (not black) house to cook me some General Chow Chicken for my rich republican friends. And do my dry cleaning for me. And take care of my kids.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Peter

      Good idea. Kill them all with imported Chinese food.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • FoSheezy

      I'm moving to Canada when that happens.. EH!

      August 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • Soulcatcher

      um most of the chineese restaurants I know are owned, run and staffed by Koreans.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  16. Overpopulation Kills

    HA HA – too many people not enough resources – Mother Natures way of telling the human population you are breeding to much

    August 11, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
  17. Rob

    What do you expect from a country governed by communist idiots who care about nothing but themselves, while their hard working citizens suffer. Failure of the TGD will solve this countries problem. Unfortunately, many millions will pay with their lives. Hopefully it will also kill their filthy government in the process.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  18. bailoutsos

    "Desperate for water in Texas" -– Be fighting for water soon.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • AjaxSeaDog9er9er

      We are discussing China now because TEX-ASS has Ricki Boy Perry doing his own prayer thang. Build a plant near the Gulf of Mexico to remove the salt out of the water will help solve some of their worries. Since everything suppose to bigger there, build the a 'Hoover Dam size plant with retention areas to store all that water. Lots of land in TEX-ASS ain't it!

      August 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  19. Biggins

    Looks like we just figured out how to even up the trade imbalance with China....can you say reverse osmosis and billions of bottles of aquafina?

    August 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  20. Peter

    Oil soon is the past. They are working on mining and marketing water soon.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  21. humtake

    Omg...I never thought CNN would do this. I'm speechless. They actually printed an article that shows that China is not the center of the universe and is not the promised land. Wow.

    China has so many problems right now, yet Americans think China is the land of God because they have money. China has had so many problems that have gotten worse in the last 20 years that they are in fear of imploding.

    But, we can't tell Americans that. They want to believe that because China has some money that means they are the garden of eden.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • oldboldgold

      Corporate-owned media use China and India to bash U.S. citizens and workers. It is propaganda. By great... they mean impoverished (nonunion), grossly underpaid (paid what they are worth) , and underfed (lean). If you notice, corporate executives are not MOVING TO CHINA. They just moved JOBS to China. That is pretty much over with... and Africa does not have enough water to run industry. India is out, too. I keep saying that China has too many problems to be the "new" frontier. They had to implement their draconian birth policy, because even with that, they are overpopulated. Most countries are overpopulated. The U.S. birth rate is harder to determine because we have open borders and over 50 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS dropping babies. Not to mention 38 MILLION legal aliens. We cannot solve the world's crowding problems by importing them to the U.S.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  22. Patrick Richardson

    Well,well here we have China showing capitalistic tendencies. While they spend lavishly investing in other countries,finance an extremely bloated defense, the citizens get to drink contaminated water. Where have I seen this before? Seems like the politicians over there need to quit following the examples set by the politicians we've been saddled with. It also looks like the international corporations are gaining more influence over the ruling communist elite as illustrated by this story. Welcome to the dark side China,we've been expecting you.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  23. Really

    Haha leave it to CNN to post something to make Americans feel better about themselves. Let's make their situation look completely horrible to show that they're obviously a third world country and we are far superior than they are regardless of the debt we owe them.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • FoSheezy

      A Jihad on you!

      August 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  24. Nishant

    poor article, they dont eveb mention the part where the chinese are building dams on river that goes thru tibet and into india and bangladesh and how they are planing to divert that river and how that has raised concern into the region

    August 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  25. Lenny Marshman

    As someone who has long-tired of "The Chinese Machine" taking away more and more American manufacturing and agricultural jobs and products, I shed no tears for the future of this once "economic marvel". When they are no longer able to provide enough water and food for the majority of their people, then they'll come BEGGING the U.S. to sell them (at top-dollar prices, I can only hope) basic sustenance. Perhaps Wal*Mart can open grocery stores in China...selling U.S.-made goods EXCLUIVELY. Pay-back's a b@#*h, huh?

    August 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  26. materialism

    It's the capitalist greed of destroying the environment and health of the working poor for short term profits. capitalis is evil if this is capitalism

    August 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  27. materialism

    the damage for the environment and health of the working poor is permanent for short term 'corporations' and the state goal of reaching full employment so everyon can have TV,phone computer etc. materialism..people don't need TV,computer or any electronic gadgets.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  28. materialism

    and the gree of one child policy where the state forces its citizens with only one child or abortion..--greed motivated and state control...-that is 'communism' the state owns 'freedom'

    August 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  29. materialism

    the state reason for the one child policy. so the state can become 'rich'....greedy communist party. it's greed and corruption that can bring down the communist's not acting like 'communist' country anymore where socialism and no's more like a one party nationalist country where making money and 'profit' is motivates all policy. the communist party in chinai splitting now from lefties and righties.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
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