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Choking on China

The Superpower That Is Poisoning the World

China is the world’s worst polluter -- home to 16 of the 20 dirtiest cities and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Recent headlines have been shocking: 16,000 decaying pig carcasses in Shanghai’s Whampoa River, dire air quality reports in Beijing, and hundreds of thousands of people dying prematurely because of environmental degradation. Most recently, the country has been shaken by a mysterious virus, H7N9, which has already killed six people and has spurred health authorities to order the slaughter of thousands of pigeons, chickens, and ducks thought to carry it. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has begun work on an H7N9 vaccine.

The dangers of China’s environmental degradation go well beyond the country’s borders, as pollution threatens global health more than ever. Chinese leaders have argued that their country has the right to pollute, claiming that, as a developing nation,

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