Makes me real nervous to see pics like this. I know that pollution is everywhere, but seeing it up close and personal like these pictures by Lu Guang is still disturbing.
For an English translation, go to ChinaHush’s post here.
In related news, here is a small story about “grow houses,” which are houses built quickly by farmers who believe their land might be taken soon. If they manage to register a building, the compensation they receive can be higher. Ignore most of the text and the comments, except this one here:
“The non-existence of truly legal private land in this great socialist motherland probably also complicates matters further.”
You hit the nail on the head. That’s not the complication, that’s the reason for the phenomenon reported above.
The fact that people don’t actually own their unincorporated (non-urban) land and can be dispossessed quite easily is the major reason to engage in such tactics as these. If the government is going to dispossess one anyway, that person is given incentive to maximize whatever payout the government is going to make. I suppose in a system with transparency in government development plans, as well as clear and private land title, private developers would buy up well placed land, the government would lay clear claim (and pay fair prices) on the land it actually needs for the infrastructure itself. The farmers would make money, the developers would make money (building concessions, etc.), the farmers might even make enough money to start businesses in private developed companies… on the flip side, the government’s costs would not be artificially low, and it wouldn’t make any money renting out concession properties it developed itself.
Its fair to say that the government can see a clear advantage for itself in the current system: Its only expense to maintain the status quo is money for chengguan and demolition equipment to knock down these “grown houses” every day.”