In China, public anger over secrecy on environment
When China's environment ministry told attorney Dong Zhengwei he couldn't have access to two-year old data about soil pollution because it was a "state secret", it added to mounting public outrage over the worsening environment.
...The environment has already been one of one of the most frequently raised issues at the annual parliament session and China's authoritarian government has admitted it has a problem... China does not usually allow public scrutiny of governance, particularly on sensitive issues such as corruption and security. But public anger over the environment may force authorities to accommodate the public in small ways...
...A choking smog in Beijing in January, far above hazardous levels, has been one of the most dramatic signs of China's environmental problems, but Dong is convinced that soil pollution is the country's "silent killer." ... Citing "state secrets", the environment ministry last month denied a request from Dong for information on data on soil samples that was collected in a national survey that started in 2006 and ended in 2010.
...And just last month, the government acknowledged for the first time that pollution had given rise to "cancer villages", admitting that cancer rates in villages near factories and polluted rivers were far higher than they should be.
In short, while the EPA tightens the screws on America's already clean industries using flatly unlawful tactics, America's policy-makers ignore the elephant in the atmosphere.