In conclusion, I ask this question of the Kiers of the world.
Do we blame China’s central government when the manufacturing sector (many of the private companies in China are controlled by Western corporations) hasn’t cooperated regarding environmental laws in China designed to clean the air and water?
To cooperate would mean raising prices and Western/American consumers refuse to pay more so violations of these new environmental laws often go unpunished due to the sheer numbers of Chinese that do not want to see their source of income flow to Vietnam or another country willing to ignore environmental disasters.
Talking about Vietnam—during the Vietnam War, America sprayed a defoliant called Agent Orange, which led to generations of birth defects and health problems among Vietnam’s people and American veterans.
In fact, since I served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange, the VA added my name to the Agent Orange watch list. I read recently that two-thirds of US servicemen that served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange are now dead.
In 1990, Time Magazine wrote, “Critics charge that the agency (CDC) and one of its senior officials, Dr. Vernon Houk, helped scuttle a $63 million study that might have determined once and for all whether U.S. troops exposed to Agent Orange suffered serious damage to their health.”
Then in 2009, Time World said,, “Agent Orange Poisons New Generations in Vietnam.”
Do we blame that on China and/or Mao too?
In addition, have we forgotten Erin Brockovich (2000) starring Julia Roberts, where she plays an unemployed single mother that becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.
Erin Brokovich was based on a true story, and recently in the news, it was revealed that another cover up may be happening with the same company in the same location, and this is not the only time cover-ups have been attempted in the West/America by government agencies or private sector corporations.
Another example would be The Ford Pinto Conspiracy, a deliberate cover up of the danger of fires being caused by rear end collisions of its Pinto car. I had a close friend whose daughter burned up in the back seat of a Pinto after a rear end collision. Ford fought long and hard in the courts to avoid responsibility for that failed conspiracy until a memo was leaked that revealed the facts.
The same could be said of America’s tobacco industry, which knew tobacco was addictive and caused cancer and emphysema and covered that up as long as possible until another leaked memo revealed the truth.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills up to half of its users—nearly six million people each year and tobacco caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, it will cause up to one billion deaths in the 21st century. My dad died ten to fifteen years early because he started smoking when he was 14. It was a horrible death.
Tobacco executives know their product causes people to suffer and die but they keep growing and selling it. How many of these executives have gone to jail?
I could probably spend a long week researching and writing about similar cover-ups in the Untied States and Europe—the ones that were caught that is. Remember Enron and how many lives were ruined?
The environmental pollution in China is a fact since China joined the World Trade Organization and allowed Western companies to manufacture products there to boost corporate profits, but all of China’s pollution since the early 1980s does not compare to the pollution from the West’s Industrial Revolution which started in the later 18th century in England, and then spread to Europe and the United States.
It is convenient for the Kiers of the world to forget two centuries of pollution in the West while blaming China for three decades of pollution and ignoring the fact that in the last few years China has emerged as the largest manufacture of alternative forms of solar and wind energy in the world, while replacing its old coal burning power plants with modern cleaner ones.
However, in the United States, not one coal burning power plant has been replaced with a modern one. The old ones are still spewing pollution into the air.
One last question — Does patriotism mean ignoring the facts and supporting lies?
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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