The Dark Side of China’s Industrial Boom



China’s impressive growth and gleaming towers are only possible because of a huge and frequently overlooked sacrifice, with millions ravaged by industrial poisons and much of the land blighted for decades to come.

These photos are by Lu Guang, of Zhejiang province, a former factory worker turned photographer who has devoted much attention to documenting some of the less savoury aspects of China’s rise.

His efforts to document the unfolding ecological catastrophe which blights much of China have recently earnt him the Smith Award for humanistic photography:


Even the Chinese government has published estimates showing it has been losing as much as 3% of its GDP annually due to the effects of pollution.

International bodies such as the World Bank have made much higher estimates, with anywhere from 6-10% of GDP lost due to the effects of pollution, suggesting GDP figures alone may be drastically overstating the actual, but undeniably substantial, gains in welfare realised by the Chinese people.

China’s impressive growth is set to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty, but this may only have been accomplished by mortgaging the health of as many, and at the cost of devastating much of China and the wider East Asian region.


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    Avatar of milo
    Comment by milo
    13:35 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    wow.... aftermath of too much "Industrial Boom"

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:56 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    thats horrible

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:25 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    fallout 3 in LA version XD

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:52 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    chore : "Teenage mutant ninja panda!
    Teenage mutant ninja panda!
    ... "

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:15 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Prepare your "chinese Assault rifle" guys, i think i saw super mutant in these pictures

    Avatar of Benskiman
    Comment by Benskiman
    16:41 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It looks just like fucking fallout its scary.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:33 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Rare tub girl sighting at #12!

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:29 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ah yes China, if they replace US and Europe as dominant economical powers, 99% of the world would be like this

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:13 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Man China is fucked up even more now.............

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:01 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd totally film a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic movie there.

    Avatar of Y10NRDY
    Comment by Y10NRDY
    14:59 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    that is really messed up. ecoterroristfags need to get up in there.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:55 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    this are all inevitable effect from industrialization.
    cause and effect. whole cycle
    make money by sacrificing the land environment for their GPD >> then spent it on military and development >> then when the pollution become too much to bear >> then start on environment clean up with the left over money >>

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:14 23/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You forgot the part where they use the military to invade somewhere with less pollution for their citizens to live and force the prisoners and citizens of their occupied territories to work in the Chinese wastelands.

    It makes absolutely perfect sense. I'd call it genius, but since it is such and obvious strategy I'll refrain this time.

    Avatar of ImyKyo
    Comment by ImyKyo
    Comment by Anonymous
    15:06 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well... looking the pictures looks like China is still a child compared to USA and other countries.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:12 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Huge polluter there? Battery manufacturers... particularly the ones who make the types used in Priuses... The Prius' dirty secret - before it drives a single mile, it's created more polution than a Escalade produces in 100000 miles including production polution.

    Buy a Prius, make a couple Chinese flipper babies!


    Comment by Anonymous
    13:10 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    that a very nice setting to film fallout 3 the movie

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:03 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Holy shit! China is #1 fucked in the whole world!

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:57 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    There are wastelands in my country too.
    But not as bad as this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:21 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Can this be copied to a site where I can send the link to friends and such, cause I want them to see how bad this stuff is in China.. without the questions as to what else is on the site from friends and family..

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:17 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hope people realize USA, Canada and even Japan have gone through the same things when they were developing.

    Japan has the Minamata Disease, Canada has Fort Mac and I don't even need to give an example about the USA.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:42 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I remembered Half Life 2.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:08 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Makes me imagine that the China in the fallout world is a much cleaner place. Even with all the radiation.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:30 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, okay. White people and those who imitate them come into China, and repeatedly tell China that she's worthless, because all she ever did was cling to her old ways and never made scientific and industrial progress. She was happy regardless of the periodic turmoil and regime changes. At least they were regulated and sustainable; wars cause people to die, famines cause people to die, but all these things had their ways of working out.

    But then came the "Enlightened" Westerners with their technology. Sure, they were faster and stronger. Sure the medicines cured a LOT of diseases, but what is the price to pay for such innovations?

    Other societies just push, and push, and constantly tell China that she's inferior.

    Well, this perverse destruction of the environment is an attempt to catch up and keep up, like steroids with athletes.

    At what cost do we pay to keep fulfilling everyone's expectations?

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:49 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The cultural revolution is why China was deemed worthless. That is just the biggest epic fail. All that thousands of years of culture destroyed. Just so sad. China is slowly, slowly starting to realize this grave error while at the same time trying hard not to make the same mistakes of the U.S.S.R.

    It is not the west that has expectations of China rather than the Chinese government has for it's 'status' in the world. They want to be the best and brightest at the cost of her own people. They want to be the most powerful and glorious at the cost of her environment and freedom. China wants to beat every other industrialized nation on the planet, yet due to shortcuts, ignorance of effects, and pure greed, she will ultimately fail in this regard. Even Confucius realized that without the people, there is no country. The Chinese have forgotten this sage advice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:14 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    When a small person sees a big person, they'll try to emulate that to be like them.

    Could Chinese policies be the result of its impressions of countries it considers greater than itself?

    I dunno. Maybe China DOES know about the consequences, but is willing to cast a blind eye for the sake of trying to catch up.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:09 23/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Because once they do catch up, the rest of the world will become their trash dump.

    A small sacrifice now for a great reward later.

    Avatar of Unellmay
    Comment by Unellmay
    10:56 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    14:10 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, but you see that would make China more of a hypocrite to itself than it already is to the world. Communism? HA. What happened to class struggle? Oh, I forgot, the leader of China is a member of the bourgeoisie.

    China keeps Tibet to assure itself that it's still great and powerful, much like how America still hasn't let Hawai'i and all the other states run away without Federal interference. American tactic is that they'll go to other peoples' lands, and submit a petition to include those lands as a part of the United States and justify that petition saying "We actually improved these lands, even though it's not ours- it's better in our hands, and that's why it belongs to us- it OUGHT to belong to us." Americans call it Manifest Destiny. That's the same policy China has with "One China" Rather than with the Han ethnicity, Beijing tries its best to either manipulate, formulate, or blatantly lie about the relationship the central government and the Han people have with other peoples residing in mainland China.

    If China frees Tibet, they'd have to free the Uighurs, Mongols, Manchurians, all the other people who're tired of Bejing's policies, including Hong Kong (who can prosper by itself a la singapore), and might as well recognize that Taiwan has a winning chance as a valid contender in dominating Chinese politics.

    So fat chance that China'll free Tibet, much like how Hawai'i does not have a great chance in re-declaring itself as a Monarchy prior to American imperialism. And China has the largest army in the world.

    You're don't really have anything to worry. They're people too. They just need to wait a while until they get sick of the government and will probably try to overthrow it or use terrorism.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:06 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thanks to China, Tibet is free since 1950 and a bit more since 1959.

    Avatar of Unellmay
    Comment by Unellmay
    12:56 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Are you retarded?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:38 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You might want to study the history of China's government before you go and blame the rest of the World. Of course if you live in China good luck trying to study that as you'll probably be arrested or you'll only get books that contain little to no fact in them because they don't want you to know the truth.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:29 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    How are you so certain that everyone else outside of China isn't as biased or prejudiced when considering Chinese history? Of course, you're right- Chinese view of history is a communist view of history. China didn't invade Tibet, China "Liberated" Tibet. That doesn't change that there are still a lot of influential thinkers who have credibility in institutes of education that are willing to portray China as a victim of Imperialism, most likely because those said thinkers are sympathetic to socialist causes, much like how in the early 20th century, thinkers were closely aligned with nationalism, thus the constant wars then and prior that century, more specially in Europe.

    At the top level of academia is just a bunch of opinions that get selected based on how convincing that opinion is, not necessarily how it really is close to the truth. So I was kinda disillusioned as to how what we know about things are the result of petty politics and popularity contests at universities.

    The truth has been that it's all about White People being dicks, not the rest of the world. If anything, I think Black people have been fucked up the ass worse than the Chinese.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:31 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Germany is like Japan a rapid aging and soon declining country. And much worser, Germany together with (West) Europa suffers from Islamisation year for year. In a few decades they will be part of the Islamic World.

    And Japan...heh, China's gouverment and people have it's own thoughts how Japan's future will be. America can't protect it's servent forever.

    No. China will rule. It's heavens decision. 5000 years of Chinese existence prove this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:38 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sankaku Complex - Anime, manga, games, and anti-Chinese propaganda observed from Japan

    Why does Sankaku feel the need to associate our culture with something so unrelated?

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:12 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    why are you here in sankaku?

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:30 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    19:11 23/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    22:10 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    LMAO +1

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:07 23/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    >Why does Sankaku feel the need to associate our culture with something so unrelated?


    Hm... Something doesn't compute.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:21 23/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    'Cause bashing China with misconceptions and ignorance is fun!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:35 23/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Because it is a Japanese blog, and it must have anti feminazi, Pro-Neet and anti-Japan propaganda

    Avatar of metatron
    Comment by metatron
    12:42 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    China is slowing becoming an industrial wasteland

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:43 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    At least they didn't permit Nuclear bomb testing on their soil like my country.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:39 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Look up lop nor on wikipedia China's last nuclear test was in 1996. Go there yourself and see how many tumors you grow.

    12:51 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow, when I saw the first pic, at first I thought it was a 3D landscape from Fallout..

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:50 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    China looks like something out of Mad Max with all that pollution.

    Where's Captain Planet where you need him?

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:41 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I looked on the back of my Captain Planet Figure and it seems he was made in China. He does not take kindly to people like you slandering the Peoples Republic. Watch your back dude.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:34 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you take out the cost it would take to clean up all of the environment and get cleaner technologies then China's actual GDP growth is closer to 0.5%. They will eventually have to spend enormous amounts of money to fix their dams, clean rivers, etc. The north of China is practically a desert now and their projects to divert water up there cost to much and the water is coming from level 5 (the max) polluted waters.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:33 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The End is inevitable jejejejeje

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:58 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fabulous photography

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:25 22/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What website are the pictures from? I'd like a link so I can reference it.

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