China targets pollution ahead of Party congress

China targets pollution ahead of Party congress

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A wave of environmental inspections in China has led to the closure of tens of thousands of businesses producing commodities from industrial chemicals to cement and rubber, pushing up prices and disrupting some global supply chains. The inspections highlight the ruling Communist party's willingness to sacrifice some economic growth for what it calls a "war" on the country's chronic air, water and land pollution, according to the Financial Times. The crackdown comes ahead of this month's political congress that will install President Xi Jinping as party chief for a second five-year term. Mr Xi has struggled to improve the government's record on pollution in his first term – Greenpeace estimates that a third of Chinese cities saw worsened air pollution this spring compared with the previous year. Critics blame Beijing's continued focus on meeting economic growth targets, the low status of environmental officials tasked with enforcing rules, and insignificant fines that fail to discourage polluters.