Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

What would the Great Helmsman say?

Posted by Charles II on January 17, 2008


The Yangtze River near Wuhan. Photo by AP, accompanying an article by Jonathan Watts in The Guardian.  Watts says:

The waters of the Yangtze have fallen to their lowest levels since 1866, disrupting drinking supplies, stranding ships and posing a threat to some of the world’s most endangered species.

Asia’s longest river is losing volume as a result of a prolonged dry spell, the state media warned yesterday, predicting hefty economic losses and a possible plague of rats on nearby farmland….

It [a report by the Yangtze water resources commission] said that the Hankou hydrological centre near Wuhan city found the river’s depth had fallen to its lowest level in 142 years.

Among the endangered animals likely to be affected are the finless porpoise and the Chinese sturgeon, which returns to the sea at this time of year.

With the Yangtze three times as crowded with traffic as the Mississippi, conservationists fear the animals will be torn up by boat propellers or contaminated by more concentrated pollution from the 9,000 chemical plants along the Yangtze. Birds such as the Siberian crane may also suffer from the impact on their wintering area.

I doubt Mao could swim the Yangtze now, with all the pollution.

4 Responses to “What would the Great Helmsman say?”

  1. Stormcrow said

    Whatever the “Great Helmsman” might say would be a disaster.

    Mao was one of the most brilliant generals of the 20’th century. But like most military men, he was a complete catastrophe as a civilian leader. More so than most.

    He damn near wrecked China. They’re still picking up the pieces over there.

  2. Charles said

    True, but I think a few others have done some wrecking, Stormcrow. The environmental degradation of China should have set off alarms long, long ago. But the monied class, the communists, are too busy getting gloriously rich to care about little things like destroying the Yangtze.

  3. Stormcrow said


    But corruption on that large a scale means that nobody has been minding the store for even longer.

  4. Charles said

    Since around the Boy Emperor, I would reckon.

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