The recent accidents have highlighted the government's inability -- some say unwillingness -- to enforce safety and environmental protection regulations. Factory managers often have forged alliances with local officials who are more interested in attracting investment and collecting bribes than taking steps that could slow the booming economy.(By Philip P. Pan)
Ma Jun, author of a book about the pollution and mismanagement of China's water supplies, said it would be difficult for the leadership to break these alliances without systemic reforms allowing the public to play a greater role in governance.
"They can't count on self-discipline and they can't do it on their own," Ma said. "They need external forces. They need to use public pressure." For example, he said, citizens should be given the right to know what substances firms are releasing into the environment so they can challenge them to change.
Thursday, December 8
Figure Who Assured Public Said to Have Committed Suicide
Public pressure is what the Chinese government is afraid of. It's not likely they will permit it.