By Denis Etler – Like the Soviet Union in the 1930s with its accelerated push to industrialize, China in the 1990s and 2000s threw caution to the winds and industrialized at break neck speed. The Soviets realized that if they didn’t rapidly industrialize the Western capitalists, both of the liberal and fascist variety, would direct all their fire at the first worker’s state and try to destroy it. The Soviet drive to industrialize had many negative consequences, but if they hadn’t done so the Nazi onslaught in 1941 may well have succeeded.
Such a result would have been an unprecedented disaster for the entire world. Instead the Soviet Union was able to repel and defeat German imperialism, a victory of unparalleled importance. The industrial foundation laid down by the Soviet Union prior to and during WW2 allowed for a swift recovery from the devastation visited upon her. After the war the Soviet Union become a bastion of peace and socialism, serving as a bulwark against the spread of US imperialism and a steadfast ally of newly emerging nations fighting for liberation from European colonialism.
With the demise of the USSR and the collapse of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s and 90s, China found itself in the cross-hairs of US imperialism. While disputes with the USSR had protected the PRC from attempts by the US to destabilize and sabotage her, once the Soviet Union was no more China became the next target. The Chinese leadership realized it had to quickly industrialize under the new conditions of US global hegemony.
Like the Soviets before them, China threw caution to the winds and put all her efforts into a vast program of industrialization, come hell or high water. As a result China experienced severe environmental damage. The Chinese people saw their country surge ahead to become an industrial power, the factory to the world and they put up with environmental degradation and pollution.
But, many soon realized that the path taken while expedient was unsustainable. With the advent of XJP corrective measures were taken which are turning things around and setting China on a course of sustainable development towards an ecological civilization. John Bachtell, national chair of the Communist Party USA, has written an incisive essay the recounts the history of China’s industrialization, its trials and travails and it’s new march towards sustainability.
<<In remarks to the CPC leadership in 2013, President Xi Jinping said, “We will never again seek economic growth at the cost of the environment.”
More recently, Xi stressed “To protect ecological environment is to protect [the] productive force. To improve the ecological environment is to develop productive force. A good ecological environment is the most just public product, one that most fully promotes the well-being of all the people.”
China has committed to a sustainable path and building an “ecological civilization” as a national strategy since the 17th CPC Congress in 2007. The goal is to form “an energy and resource efficient, environmentally friendly structure of industries, pattern of growth, and mode of consumption.”
The concept of “ecological civilization construction” was added to the CPC constitution during the 18th CPC Congress in 2012. It was placed on par with “economic, political, cultural and social progress.”
The adoption of several reforms in 2015 to accelerate the process addresses many of the country’s major environmental issues. “Proposals cover protection of natural resource rights; establishment of a national parks system; better and stricter systems for protection of arable land and water resources management; establishment of a green financing system; and improvement of environmental compensation mechanisms.”
Only an eco-socialist oriented society can move with such unity, purpose and speed toward sustainability. It helps that government and CPC leaders are deeply committed to building the ecological civilization and driving the process, including President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.
Consequently, the CPC initiated a “war on pollution” just like its “war on poverty” which will be eliminated entirely in the next 3-5 years. With an overall economic slowdown, the priority has shifted from quantity to quality in production, environmental protection, and becoming a global leader in the fight against the climate crisis.
A law passed in 2014 to reduce CO2 emissions from coal power plants has resulted in a 14 percent reduction as of June 2018.
New measures adopted in May 2018 will result in “comprehensive recycling” of hard waste materials. China is one of a few countries to pass laws and develop a strategy to create a circular economy (reuse, recycling and remanufacturing).
The ministry of Ecology and Environment has identified 9 million sources of pollution, 7.4 million of them being from industrial sources.
China is doubling the previous target for solar power production by 2020 and is the largest producer of solar panels in the world.>>