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"It makes people funnier" is just one of the many benefits, apparently

China has had some serious issues with smog lately, to the point of closing schools and delaying or canceling flights. But the Chinese media has put quite a spin on these recent problems with pollution, insisting that there are five benefits to choking on the air you breathe. 

According to Yahoo News, China's state broadcaster CCTV attempted to shine some absurd light on the smog situation by listing five reasons as to why this air pollution is beneficial. The list is as follows:
  1. It unifies the Chinese people.
  2. It makes China more equal.
  3. It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China's economic development.
  4. It makes people funnier.
  5. It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word 'haze'). 
This list is one of the more imaginative spins seen on a poor situation. Not even former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf can top this one.
China's smog problem has certainly escalated in recent weeks, and since the country is trying to make Shanghai in particular a hub for new business, this air pollution isn't doing it any favors. 
Last week, hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled in Shanghai on Friday alone, citing record levels of air pollution. 
Schools were affected as well, as hazardous air pollution forced them to shut down or cancel outdoor activities in at least two cities in eastern China on Thursday. Some schools cancelled outdoor activities on Friday, too. 
The Shanghai government issued its most severe health warning last Friday afternoon when the city's pollution index ranged between 23 times and 31 times the levels recommended by international health officials.
The Shanghai government said the level of PM2.5 particulate matter reached 466 on Friday, which is categorized as "severely polluted." 

China's smog problem [Image Source: Sensible Reason]
PM2.5 particulate matter involves small particles in the air that are the most hazardous to health. 
The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai took a reading of a whopping 503. 
This is definitely not good news, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than a reading of 20 as a daily level. Anything over 300 is labeled hazardous. 
The Chinese government has said that it would battle the smog problem, but its efforts don't appear to be working too well. 
In a recent Reuters report, the United States offered to help China crack down on vehicle emissions in order to combat the air pollution situation. More specifically, the U.S. said it would offer technical assistance to create a new round of vehicle emissions standards -- known as China VI -- which would require cars to have filters that capture particulate matter.
This could be a helpful step in fighting smog, considering the fact that China's Ministry of Public Security said passenger car ownership in China reached 120 million by the end of 2012, and will top 200 million by 2020 at the current growth rate.
However, China V standards for diesel and refined gasoline will be the next to be introduced, and they will not take effect until 2017. But the good news is that the standards will lower the sulfur content limit to 10 parts per million.
The most recent reports on Chinese air pollution are certainly not the first. Back in July of this year, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that heavy pollution in northern China causes citizens in that area to have lower lifespans than those in the south. In fact, the study says that the 500 million people who live north of the Huai River will lose 2.5 billion years of life expectancy because of air pollution. Breaking it down further, each northerner has a 5.5-year drop in life expectancy compared to southerners. 
Way back in 2008, a NASA study said 15 percent of America's air pollution is from Asia. A year before that, China became the world's top CO2 emitter

Sources: Yahoo News, Time Magazine

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RE: Caption fix
By Etsp on 12/11/2013 1:44:52 PM , Rating: 1
You... really don't know what communism is, do you?

RE: Caption fix
By MaDeuce on 12/11/2013 1:55:05 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not expert in it by any means, but why don't you educate yourself on the tenets of communism and get back to me on that...

RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 1:57:57 PM , Rating: 1
China isn't a communist country. It has roots in communism, but it is a far cry from even Marxist/Leninist communism.

RE: Caption fix
By Etsp on 12/11/2013 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 3
Communism isn't about regulation, or "control by the government". It's about ownership by government.

Government Regulation: You can't sell food products that you know are unsafe, and do not meet specific standards of safety.

Communism: You will sell these specific food products produced using these methods, at this price, in this amount. We expect this much profit ("Profit" goes back to government, as the government is the business owner).

Again: You really should open an encyclopedia and study up on what communism actually is, if you're going to be using it to describe the United States.

RE: Caption fix
By melgross on 12/11/2013 3:09:44 PM , Rating: 3
Your notion of communism is interesting, but totally incorrect. There has never been a communist country, and it's not likely that there will ever be one.

What we call communist countries are really socialist countries, even though the ruling parties call themselves communist.

True communism means no government at all. Everyone is doing what they should for their country because they know that's what should be done, and they want to do it. It assumes that people are perfect, and care about everyone else. The part of the definition that matters here is that everyone does what is needed, and receives what they need back. No greed, no hoarding, no individual wealth or power. In other words, an ideal that humans can't possibly meet, a utopia.

So we can forget it.

RE: Caption fix
By Etsp on 12/11/2013 4:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
I would argue that the term "communism" has been co-opted into also meaning a totalitarian government that owns most or all industry. Many people refer to-and have referred to-the old USSR as communism. Some of these people were heads of state.

Just because it wasn't pure communism as described by Marx, doesn't mean that many of its concepts weren't implemented by these totalitarian governments. They limited the application of communism to their economic structure, and certainly made exceptions to whom even that was applied to, but the many of the major tenets were there.

RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 4:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
No, if you lack a dictatorship of the proletariat, you're not communist. That is probably the most important aspect.

RE: Caption fix
By boeush on 12/12/2013 9:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
Not really. The dictatorship of the proletariat was supposed to be a transitional stage that cleanses away the evils of the old social and economic order, following which the dictatorship would dissolve as under true Communism there's no need for a big central government imposing its will upon the people. This is going back to the "Commune" in "Communism" -- and realizing that Communism has its philosophical roots in the French communes of the late 19th century:

RE: Caption fix
By melgross on 12/12/2013 7:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
You are looking at something that has nothing to do with real communism though. They are socialist. Real communism begins with the "withering away of the state". Only once the state (the government) is gone can communism be accomplished.

It doesn't matter what these parties called themselves, or what outsiders called those governments, the weren't communist. The parties themselves weren't interested in promoting the withering away of anything except freedom.

Not communist at all. Idealism such as communism or other economic systems always sound nice at first, until you have to live with it.

RE: Caption fix
By FaaR on 12/11/2013 4:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
China is not a socialist nation (any more). If you can't afford to pay for things like hospital or child care, education, retirement benefits and so on then generally, you don't get them.

If you don't have money, you're as fucked or more in China as in the US for example. Europe is by and large far more socialist than China is, minus the dictatorship, mostly. Unless you live in Belarus, Khazakstan and a few other places (including Russia, arguably.)

RE: Caption fix
By Reclaimer77 on 12/11/2013 5:39:57 PM , Rating: 1
In other words, an ideal that humans can't possibly meet, a utopia.

It's sad that is your definition of a utopia.

RE: Caption fix
By melgross on 12/12/2013 7:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
You don't know what Utopia means if you say that. Utopia means an ideal that can't be met.

Look it up. It's not my definition. It's THE definition.

RE: Caption fix
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/13, Rating: 0
RE: Caption fix
By TSS on 12/13/2013 1:17:02 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. No government at all = Anarchy. Which, like communism, always leads to dictatorship.

Communism = central planning. Which is where the dictatorship comes in, absolute power corrupts absolutely, so those who plan the whole shindig always come to belive they're just a bit more equal then the rest of the proles.

I will agree communism as it is in theory is the perfect system for perfect human beings. Which is also it's flaw; it refuses to take into account human imperfection. Which is why it'll never work in practice, and you can be sure, both Stalin and Mao have tried to put it into practice in it's purest form. Thousands of communes in russia and millions in china starved because of it.

Your notion of history is wrong.

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