Concrete housing blocks rise above a polluted river whose banks are strewn with trash in China in 1996. At least one-third of China's rivers were polluted by 2009, and pollution-related deaths in the country may be as high as 750,000 per year.

Photo credit: World Bank

What occurs in China's environment affects all living inhabitants of the planet and its natural biophysical processes. The subject of China's environmental conditions and that nation's path toward development is of paramount importance not only to all Chinese citizens and their leaders but has profound significance for the entire world because of the many ecological, political, economic, social, and ethical consequences that will ensue from decisions made by Chinese policy makers. For example, consider the fact that China has surpassed the ...

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