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China as a Cow for the West
A College Professor from China

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From a historical perspective, the current struggle by the Chinese to build a harmonious society, is yet another movement to save itself from extinction. During the period of the late 19th to the early 20th century, China was politically divided by Western countries. From the late 20th to the early 21st century, China is again being split up. The difference is, previously, the division happened by treaties, while this time, it is by regulations.

The most prominent result of this splitting is that the country is being turned into a "free cow" for the West. It is a big milk can in which global monopolistic entities of capitalism all have their straws trying to suck the most wealth out of it. Industrial developments, which will completely deplete natural resources are leaving nothing for future generations and are piping immense wealth into the highly-developed countries in the West. It is raising their living standards and stimulating global economic growth, but it is doing so at the cost of China's well-being. Not only is the general welfare of the Chinese being sacrificed, but worse, it's depriving future generations of their resources.

In other words, current wealth is being generated by destroying the natural resources for the future. This is already a major crime, and what is even worse is that the current generation of the Chinese population is not even entitled to this wealth exchanged in return for the depletion of their natural resources—this wealth has been completely consumed by the western world. While both China and Japan have gone through 30 years of an economic surge, the average salary in Japan is on par with the U.S., while in China it is only three percent of that of the U.S. The 0.02 percent (according to the latest statistics) of the population which possesses 70 percent of the entire country's wealth, is desperately migrating their money and kin out of the country. The Chinese population will once again be squeezed by "The Three Mountains" during rapid economic growth. In addition, the global monopolistic entities of capitalism have already made preparations to clean out all remaining assets in China by manipulating stock and foreign exchange markets when the time comes.

The Chinese Economy is Again Facing a Most Dangerous Time

I. The GDP

As the so called "power generator of the global economy," China has contributed a staggering growth of world-wide wealth by contributing its natural resources, environment, and the public health. For that reason, of the nine Global Economic Summits held to-date, three were hosted by China. For four years straight, China's four percent of the world GDP resulted in 15 percent of the world economic growth. During those four years, China's share of the global GDP was 1.5 trillion US dollars, which equals approximately 12 trillion yuan. Calculating with the base of last year's average salary, it was equivalent to more than six year's worth of all the workers' pay in the country combined. The magnitude of China's contribution to the global economy is best reflected by the crazy hikes in natural resource pricing throughout the world. Because of China's excessive demand and import, mine products prices are rising at the average rate of 70 percent per year, and the cost of ocean transportation is soaring by an average rate of 170 percent per year. At the same time, prices of goods imported into China have also rocketed, while that of exports has slumped. All of this amounts to one of the most bizarre phenomena in global economic history.

China's contribution to the Asian region is even more staggering. The 100 percent growth in Asian export came from China. China pulled the Asian economy out of the 1998 crisis. Especially noteworthy is that Japan, the Asian financial power house, has maintained double-digit growth rates in its exporting to China since the turn of the century, and this amounts to 70 percent of Japan's total export increase. Even Japan has admitted that trade with China is the support for Japan's export-dominated economic recovery, which is a main factor contributing to Japan's economic recovery from the financial storm.

However, economic growth of China comes with a price. Mass destruction of China's resources and environment are exchanged for economic prosperity of the world, other parts of Asia, such as Japan. In China, 80 percent of rivers, streams and lakes have dried up. Two-thirds of the prairies have eroded into deserts, the majority of the forests have disappeared and nearly 100 percent of the soil has hardened. According to the statistics of Japan's custom, in the past ten years, two million trees were made into chopsticks per year for exportation of approximately 224.3 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks to Japan. Chinese experts of forestry estimate that the areas deforested to produce such large amounts of chopsticks count for over 20 percent of the China's territory.

With the vanishing of natural resources, the living environment for humans has been threatened. One-third of China's land has been affected by acid rain. Two-fifths of the major rivers in China have been categorized as being in the fifth stage of pollution. It is estimated that over 300 million people in rural areas have no access to potable water and over 400 million people in urban areas are breathing highly polluted air. As a result, 15 million people have acquired bronchitis and cancer of the respiratory tract. According to a report released by World Bank, sixteen cities out of the twenty named as the most polluted are located in China. Two-thirds of the 668 cities in China are surrounded by garbage. These waste products are not only occupying available space for farmland but also threatening the livelihood of the people. Not being able to process its own trash, China has also become the garbage dump for developed western countries. One of the three main fastest growing exports of the U.S. to China is garbage. In southern China where they collect imported trash, some animals are already extinct, plants are genetically altered and human health is deteriorating. In some areas, no one has been qualified for enlisting in the military in years due to the results of their physical exams.

Even if the rise in economics is taken into account, the loss is still quite astonishing. In 2003, the economic loss from environmental pollution and ecological destruction accounted for 15 percent of the GDP, while China contributes to 15 percent of the rise in the world economy.

Not only is the natural environment in China worsening, the society as a whole is also deteriorating. From 1979 to 2003, criminal cases have risen six fold from 5.5 per ten thousand to 34.1. There is an annual increase of seven percent and the difference is even more disheartening if the decline in the standard of case establishment is taken into account. The mortality rate continues to rise from 4.4 per hundred thousand people in 1979 to 10.6 per hundred thousand in 2003, a 3.5 percent increase annually.

In 2003, the health department reported a 6.7 percent rise in cases of infectious diseases and a rise in mortality rate of 37 percent. Chinese people have gone from not knowing what security doors or windows are to installing them up to the seventh floor of the apartment buildings. Due to the proliferation of thugs, companies throughout China no longer employ female workers at night. Moreover, poisonous foods have been spread in China; people today have no idea what substances they are ingesting anymore. Early puberty is also a widespread phenomenon in preschool children and directly affects their future health and life expectancy.

Approximately 20 million young girls are compelled to prostitution and their income contributes to six percent of the national GDP, which is equivalent to one trillion yuan (US $120 billion). The average height of Chinese is 2.5 cm shorter than the Japanese. According to Reference News, for every hundred million yuan increase in GDP, one worker dies in China from occupational injury. In 2003, there were 136 thousand deaths reported in China. Hence calculation shows that nearly 200 thousand occupationally related deaths will occur in China this year. This is the so-called blood tainted GDP. In fact, these death tolls are simply a tip of the iceberg. The incidents recorded are primarily deaths from state-owned enterprises or large accidents involving numerous casualties. Casualties from private businesses or foreign enterprises normally do not reach the statistics department. Moreover, these businesses often employ far more workers than state-owned enterprises. If this factor is taken into account, the number of deaths annually equates to the number of casualties from the Nanjing Massacre.

II. Foreign Trade

China's amazing "blood transfusion" of wealth to developed countries in the West has already put China's economy in the most pitiful state. The price for exported products from China is so low that it is almost free. With the exception of white people initially coming to Africa to capture black people without paying, there has not been any other colony in history that had been plundered to this extent. If foreign trade is compared with the market price in developed countries, one will discover that over 95 percent of the profit for foreign trade had been taken away by foreign businessmen. Last year, China exported 17.7 billion garments, with an average unit price of US$3.51; the average price of shoes is less than US$2.5 a pair. The popular Barbie dolls in the U.S. market are sold for US$10 each, but the manufacturers in Suzhou, China only got US$0.35. Logitech sent 20 million Chinese made computer mice to the U.S. annually, which are sold for about US$40 each, but China only got US$3.00 each. The small amount of revenue has to cover workers' salaries, electricity, transportation and other expenses.

We use this less than 5 percent profit to have accumulated a foreign exchange reserve of US$1 trillion. We have contributed US$20 trillion to the international monopoly capital, equivalent to 160 trillion yuan, almost 80 times the total national annual salary. On the fifth anniversary of China's entering the WTO, China Central Television repeatedly broadcasted that China had saved an average U.S. family one fifth of its living expenses in the five years China joined WTO. Morgan Stanley's report also showed that U.S. consumers have saved US$100 billion from buying cheap products made in China. Because buying chopsticks made in China is even cheaper than washing them, Japanese people threw chopsticks away after use. Also because it is so cheap, Japan, who had stopped burning coal for a long time, is importing over 20 million tons of coal from China each year to fill the sea, and make it into a man-made coal mine to reserve energy. This situation in China that made inexpensive disposables a commodity in western developed countries has shocked some good-hearted people in the West. Though it is China's resources that are being destroyed, they called for changes in disposable consumption and urged China to protect is resources.

The majority of the profits made in foreign trade have been taken away by foreign merchants. So, Chinese businesses are exploiting workers to reduce costs. After the Foxconn incident, the Apple company from the U.S. and Britain's Financial Times came to China in succession and conducted investigations. Their reports showed that Foxconn has 150,000 female workers, who work over 15 hours a day and earn less than US$50 a month, less than two hours of similar workers' wage in the U.S. Even for such a low salary, it is unknown if the workers can get their wages on time. Such a low salary has turned these modern workers into slaves. The majority of these workers persevere in such a situation, as if working for free, for the hope of gaining urban residence one day. For them, working for free is not frightful. Injury and disability are the scariest. It is impossible for the bosses, who had over 95 percent of the profit taken away by foreign merchants, to pay any labor protection fee. Hence injury and disability have become the worst nightmares for workers.

According to a volunteer investigation by Zeng Feiyang, in the Pearl River Triangle Area, the base for China's exportation, there are at least 30,000 accidents involving broken fingers, and over 40,000 fingers being severed by machines each year. These accidents are for punching, which only account for a small portion of the machineries. The number of work accidents are involved with other machineries is unknown. In order to maintain social stability, the local government decided not to collect statistics on work accidents any more. However before this decision, a survey of eight million peasant workers in Shenzhen City revealed that one fifth of them have had a work injury or an occupational disease. Some factories in Shenzhen change their workers every two years. To prevent lawsuits filed by injured and disabled workers from affecting economic interests and social stability, some areas in the Pearl River Triangle Area extend the normal lawsuit time for peasant workers from other areas to over three years. It forces these workers to give up their rights because they could not afford it, and they had to return to the countryside for their remaining years. The Pearl River is filled with these peasant workers' blood and tears.

Speaking of the heavy price paid by peasant workers, one cannot help thinking about the mine disasters in China. From 2001 to 2005, on average across the country, coal mine accidents that causing over the people deaths occur once a week. The price for the annual export of 80 million tons of coal is an average of over 6,000 mining deaths a year. This is about 17 deaths per day. This data is from the statistics collected by the government. The actual number far exceeds this. Even with this figure, the mortality rate for coal miners in China is 100 times that of the States, and 10 times that of Russia and India. Its death rate is number one in the world with a death toll exceeding the sum of all other countries combined.

The amazing profit made for international monopoly capital and the shocking prosperity for the Chinese mine owners are gained at the price of countless miners' lives. At the Beijing International Car Expo this year, a mine owner, who was wiping his nose, wanted to buy a Ferrari worth several million dollars. When the model lady told him that the car was very expensive, he just tossed his nasal mucus and shouted while pointing to the lady, "Just name your price, I'll buy you too." In the end, several mine owners bought over 80 Ferraris. This extremely distorted squandering of wealth cannot even be seen among landlords of feudal societies, capitalists of the modern society, or rulers of colonies.

© Copyright 2002-2007 AFAR