Recent reports from Radio France Internationale (RFI)’s Chinese site suggest that China’s pollution problem is raising serious concerns within the country itself. In the push for economic growth, the China is also becoming increasingly aware of what could potentially develop into a serious problem if steps are not taken soon. In this connection, there has been heated debate on the Internet suggesting that Chinese authorities are proposing moving the capital away from Beijing.

The level of toxic gases from factories and car fumes have reached levels that can no longer be ignored; many are suggesting that just living in Beijing alone is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Of course, all this pollution doesn’t stop at the air one breathes; crops, water and the like have also been affected. At the same time, Beijing is a city to over 20 million people. Under these circumstances, leaving things as they are without a strategy of some sort would undoubtedly see the innocent citizens of Beijing fall victim to many a case of ill-health.

In 2012, there were publications by specialists in the field that actually predicted the relocation of the capital. There was the work, “An Essay on The relocation of China’s Capital” by the Chinese writer Tangaimin, and also “Relocating the Capital: A Change in Strategy is Fundamental to China’s Growth” which was created in collaboration with the Director of the Shangai Economic Research Insitute, Shen Yao, and Chinese and Foreign State Development Planning Specialist Shao Lu. Both of these publications argue strongly at the possibility of a shift in the capital’s location. However, since their publication last year, the whole notion of pollution and the problems it brings have to some extent faded into the background. Or so this was the case until recently. With this year’s serious smog problems, the above essays have seen something of a revival and are attracting much interest and debate among those interested in China’s future developments.

Both authors of the collaborative work “Relocating the Capital: A Change in Strategy is Fundamental to China’s Growth” propose moving Beijing to Xinyang, in the Henan province.

On this occasion what is taking many a net user aback and admittedly creating quite an uproar is the post that can be found on the Chinese Agricultural Reform Research Centre’s website, titled “From 2016, the current capital of China will be relocated to XinYang.” It states that this is something which has already been decided by the concerned authorities.

On the same Agricultural Reform Research Centre’s site can be found an article entitled, “Have Preparations to move the Capital to Xinyang Already Begun?” According to this article, “The issues brought about by a shortage in water recourses, a dramatic increase in the population, traffic congestion and pollution problems are showing no signs of improvement. The argument for moving the capital is heating up.”

It goes on state that on 28 July, 2012 an investigation into the possibility of moving the capital to Xinyang was conducted by 20 government divisions made up of 160 members. It carried out the survey a staggering 28 times and according to the same site, “It has been determined that from 2016, the capital of China will be moved to Xinyang.”

If the above reports are true, moving the capital will undoubtedly require a considerable amount of preparation. That being said, under the circumstances of China’s rapid growth and Beijing’s incredible congestion some might argue that such a measure is necessary. One line of thought is that  the smog problem could all be avoided by China introducing technology such as toxic fume filters and air purifiers from abroad (Japan’s technology is particularly renowned in this area). Whatever the turn of events, I’m sure the world will be watching China intently from here on in.

Source: Record China