* China’s Environmental Protection Racket

WSJ: “Beijing’s choke-inducing air – which blanketed the city for nearly a week before being cleared away by a bout of sorely-needed wind on Friday — prompted Premier Wen Jiabao to call for action to protect the environment and public health.

If the premier and his colleagues can see through the smog on the policy front, they might consider something that has been all but overshadowed by the capital’s plight: the sorry track record of the environmental watchdog in little Nantong in east China’s Jiangsu province.

The problems in Nantong are a tale of environmental protection gone seriously wrong in a country where money clearly talks. They may also be small but critical components of an increasingly toxic environment.

According to a series of newspaper reports, online versions of which appear to have vanished into the country’s not-so-thin air, more than 30 environmental and other officials from the Nantong area were implicated in a scandal that involves bribery and turning a blind eye to pollution problems. Thanks to the reporting of the Shanghai-based China Business News (in Chinese here and here), it’s now fairly clear that Nantong environmental officials were running something closer to an environmental protection racket.

The newspaper, which had been following the story since the summer of last year, reported earlier this month that the scandal had reached the highest level of the local environmental protection bureau. Contacted by the Wall Street Journal, an official with the Nantong Environmental Protection Bureau was unable to elaborate beyond the official posting on the Nantong discipline inspection committee’s website, which stated that former bureau director Lu Boxin was found guilty of accepting bribes and sentenced to 12 years in prison (in Chinese).

This brief report, posted under the banner headline of “Study the Spirit of the 18th Communist Party Congress, Promote and Deepen the Anti-corruption Campaign and the Building of Clean Government,” said that the bribes were taken on more than one occasion.”

via China’s Environmental Protection Racket – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/economic-factors/greening-of-china/

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