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Oxygen of Freedom

Written by Anonymous
Edited by Greg Bartolomei

No one thinks about breathing until the air surrounding you is heavily polluted. China’s government fails to properly inform citizens about the amount of pollution that is in the air on any given day. The U.S. decided to step up and publish air-pollution readings using an iPhone app and Twitter. “iPhone apps and Twitter are blocked inside China but can be accessed by tech-savvy Chinese who circumvent the country’s Web censorship system” (Page). China’s government is very upset about these tweets and apps and wishes that the U.S. would stop publishing them. I don’t see why the government wouldn’t want to protect its citizens; it seems unethical. China treats its people as tools to gain social order and is not protecting them. People are ends, not means. The U.S. is only trying to help inform the Chinese citizens about air pollution since the Chinese government fails to do so, but China doesn’t want help from the “outside”. China’s government is isolating and disengaging ethics by ignoring evidence that would support a competing ethical position. “On Oct. 30, the embassy rated the air as hazardous, while the bureau called it slight”; this is a clear example of China misinforming its citizens (Page).

Air Pollution Wall StreetYou may be wondering who’s to say that the way China controls its society is wrong. The problem isn’t China’s beliefs or political values, it’s about right versus wrong. The U.S. is not trying to control China and it is not about politics, it’s about human health and health concerns. If the people of China were more transparent about pollution then they would be more aware of the problems causing it. The solution can be top-down (government to people) or bottom-up (people to government). “If they know how serious the problem is, then people can consciously prevent air pollution, and change their unhealthy lifestyles and habits” (Page). By providing frequent data about pollution, the U.S. hopes this will put pressure on the Chinese government to pass an act or follow a suit to cleaner air. A simple regulation can be put in place to regulate auto pollution or cut back on pollution heavy industries. These regulations will heavily cut down pollution. The people of China want justice. They want to be properly informed about the air-pollution readings. Instead of depriving the citizens of the truth, China should do what’s right and protect their people. “The bureau has said it plans to improve the way it measures air quality, but hasn’t set a time table” (Page).

China has poor management of air pollution. A regulation is needed to severely cut back on pollution. The United States of America has worked very hard to keep its citizens safe over the years by passing numerous clean air acts. “The Clean Air Act of 1963 dealt with reducing air pollution by setting emissions standards for stationary sources such as power plants and steel mills” (Legislation). The U.S. didn’t stop there, over the years they kept improving the Clean Air Act to keep up with the growing population and economical concerns. “The Clean Air Act of 1990 addressed five main areas: air-quality standards, motor vehicle emissions and alternative fuels, toxic air pollutants, acid rain, and stratospheric ozone depletion” (Legislation). China needs to start small with a regulation like the U.S. did and expand on it overtime. The U.S. wasn’t the only one regulating air quality. Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are just a few that adopted the Clean Air Act. It’s about time China got on board and started to really protect its citizens.

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**Due to technical difficulties we recently had to switch domains and transfer all of our website content.  Please keep in mind that while we have been publishing articles for two years, the published dates shown may not reflect the initial publish date.

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Page, Jeremy. “China Web Users Seek Closer Read on Pollution” Wall Street Journal 09 Nov. 2011. Print
“Legislation.” Web. 13 Nov. 2011. .

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