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  • The biggest sandstorm in a decade hits Beijing

  • What's causing the pollution?

  • And is the CCP's solution working

  • Or is it making things worse?

  • Welcome to China Uncensored. I'm Chris Chappell.

  • After a long, cold winter, spring  is finally just around the corner.

  • Birds are chirping. Flowers are  blooming. And the air is full of...sand.

  • Beijing on Monday was covered with thick  

  • brown dust. China's meteorological agency  called it the biggest sandstorm in a decade.

  • The sky literally turned orange  as the sandstorm and pollution  

  • sent air quality readings off the scale

  • How far off the scale?

  • Some of you longtime viewers of China Uncensored  may remember me talking about the time the US  

  • Embassy in China called the air quality  crazy bad. That happened back in 2010. 

  • Crazy bad was when the PM 2.5 air  quality index hit more than 500.

  • This past Monday, it hit 700. And the PM 10 index,  

  • which measures slightly bigger air  pollution particles, was over 9000. 

  • Life imitates art.

  • And 9,000 is more than 180  times the healthy amount.

  • So if more than 500 is Crazy Bad, more than  9,000 is Time to Get Out of China bad

  • Yeah, definitely time to get out of China.

  • "It looks like the end of the worldFeels like it's impossible to go outside."

  • But you know what, humans are resilientEven during the end of the world,  

  • people were walking aroundconstantly looking at their phones.

  • That must be a really important email.

  • Maybe everyone is on their phones because  they're checking the air quality index

  • But you know what? At least everyone has  masks now, thanks to the coronavirus.

  • Although you have to wonder whether  a surgical mask is really enough to  

  • keep you from inhaling all that dust

  • This guy has the right idea. Until he's  arrested for looking like a Hong Kong protester.

  • But as some people braved the sandstorm  outside, Chinese netizens responded to  

  • the post-apocalyptic environment the  only way they could: they memed it.

  • Like I said, humans are resilient

  • Although the photos I just  showed you were all from Beijing,  

  • the sandstorm actually stretched across China.  

  • It whipped across 12 different provinces, from  Beijing all the way to Gansu and Xinjiang

  • But of course it makes the international  news because it affects Beijing,  

  • where all the foreign correspondents are.

  • Plus, if we were talking about  a sandstorm that hit Gansu,  

  • Americans would be like, what's a  Gansu? Oh wait, is that the knife?

  • Meanwhile, in Xinjiang, the sandstorm was actually  a good thing, because the persecuted Uyghurs  

  • could use it to hide from all  of the surveillance cameras.

  • Years ago, there were frequent sandstorms  in Beijing, as well as just terrible air  

  • pollution in general. Smog and sandstorms would  be especially bad around this time of year

  • After tons of bad press, the  Chinese Communist Party did take  

  • action to improve air qualitylike by banning coal usage

  • And it did improve the air  quality in general in Beijing

  • But that may be in jeopardy again. Because  the Chinese Communist Party is once again  

  • expanding their coal plant  capacity to boost the economy.

  • Which means more air pollution. But don't  worry! Under the Paris Climate Agreement,  

  • China has until 2030 to  reach peak carbon emissions

  • That's plenty of time to build more coal plants

  • But my favorite Chinese state-run media,  

  • the Global Times, would like everyone to know  that there are blue skies again in Beijing.

  • And also that the sandstorm  originated in Mongolia.

  • And that it's definitely not related  to the failure of one of the Communist  

  • Party's biggest environmental projectsWhich I'll tell you about after the break.

  • Welcome back. Northern China has seen the worst  

  • sandstorm in a decade. And the Chinese  Communist Party would like you know,  

  • it has absolutely nothing to do with the failure  of China's Three-North Shelterbelt Forest Program.

  • What is the Three-North  Shelterbelt Forest Program?  

  • It's also known as the Great Green Wall  or sometimes the Green Great Wall. They  

  • really should get their names straightAnyway, it's a massive plan started in 1978  

  • to plant millions of trees to stop  the northern deserts from spreading

  • Sure, it sounds cool. But it's just like  the Chinese Communist Party's other massive  

  • environmental engineering projects, like  the South-North Water Transfer Project,  

  • or the Three Gorges Dam. The plan is to conquer  nature, whether that's a good idea or not.

  • The most recent phase of the Great  Green Wall, started in the mid-2000s,  

  • called forplanting more than 9 million acres  of forest at a cost of up to $8 billion.”

  • But it turns out there's a problem. It's  hard to plant trees in areas that have  

  • been desert for thousands of yearsAnd it's probably also a bad idea.

  • One prominent ecologist has talked about how  the Great Green Wall hasaccelerated ecological  

  • degeneration by putting pressure on precious  water resources in arid and semi-arid regions.”

  • In one arid part of Gansu province, “Of the 53,000  hectares of trees planted in the last few decades,  

  • a quarter has died and the rest are dwarf treeslacking any capacity to protect the soil.”

  • Meanwhile, the trees sucked up what little water  

  • was in the soil. That caused the groundwater  level to drop by as much as 131 feet.

  • So this attempt to conquer  nature by planting trees  

  • has actually caused the region to become  even more of a desert than it was before.

  • Another problem is that authorities have planted  mostly the same tree species, which means  

  • that disease can easily wipe them out.

  • The vulnerability to disease, compounded with  its rapid exhaustion of soil and water resources,  

  • makes single-species forests 'green deserts.'”

  • So this Great Green Wall is  costing billions of dollars,  

  • it's not really working, and in some areas  it's actually making the problem worse.

  • Environmentalism with Chinese characteristics.

  • Ecologists have proposed just restoring  the natural grasslands instead,  

  • which would be much easier and  better for the environment

  • Well that's not going to happen.  

  • Because this massive political campaign is  about planting trees, not stupid grass. Local  

  • officials need to be able to claim they've planted  millions of trees, so they can get promoted. Duh.

  • And according to Chinese state-run media,  

  • the Green Great Wall is definitely  keeping the sand at bay.

  • Except when it's not.

  • And now it's time for me to answer  a question from a loyal viewer who  

  • supports China Uncensored on the  crowdfunding website Patreon.

  • Ringleader asks

  • Chris, we know that most of the China/Russia  deals are a marriage of convenience.  

  • How long do you think it will take till  they decide to turn on one another?

  • Why Ringleader, are you suggesting that these  bestest buddies might turn on each other  

  • when their relationship is no longer useful?  

  • Do gold-plated friendship  medals mean nothing anymore

  • What about pancakes? They bonded over pancakes!

  • I mean, Xi Jinping even got special Russian  

  • ice cream frombest and bosom  friendPutin for his birthday.

  • I never want to see the words Putin, Xiand bosom in the same sentence again

  • Anyway, Ringleader, you're right these  BFFs could drop each other at any time.  

  • But they won't in the foreseeable future

  • That's because there's one thing that unites these  two, more than friendship medals, or ice cream,  

  • or even pancakes: Their common enemy, the United  States. And as long as they need each other to  

  • oppose the US in the United Nations, or elsewhere  around the world, this friendship is rock solid.

  • Thanks for your question, Ringleader.  

  • If you'd like me to answer your question on  an episode, Go to Patreon.com/ChinaUncensored  

  • to see how you can contribute a dollar or more  per episode to help us keep this show going.

  • Once again, I'm Chris ChappellThanks for watching China Uncensored.

The biggest sandstorm in a decade hits Beijing

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ENORMOUS Sandstorm Engulfs China

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    zijun su posted on 2021/05/05
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