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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Pollution stories are discouraged by the Chinese government, says my classmate tonight. Well, she didn't say 'pollution' stories exactly, but rather 'negative' stories. A report in The Sydney Morning Herald buttresses her words.

I'll call her 'Sandy' (because that's what she calls herself -- it's common for Chinese students to do this, adopt an Anglo name while living here). Tonight's class is again mainly made up of female Chinese students.

She tried England but, she says, she didn't like the weather. Also, her good friend is also here. In China, she worked for a Beijing TV station doing a fashion show. Her work didn't attract official opprobrium but, she asserts, it's hard for reporters to write about things that reflect negatively on the nation.

The news report says that Chinese authorities "lobbied the World Bank" to tone down data on pollution. Later the government said it was "cancelling plans to publish" a report about the cost of pollution to the economy.

Like many news stories, this one ends with a quote, here by an environmental academic. He says that including the real cost of clean technology would push down growth "in some areas".

"Many areas still place GDP above all else," he says. A page for Mitchell Landsberg, the reporter ("in Beijing"), is on the Los Angeles Times Web site. Seems it needs updating, because it shows him as a metro reporter.

The same issue reports that Fairfax managers will roll out Earth Hour in other Australian cities, and in New Zealand. Anywhere Fairfax has papers, basically.

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