The Le’an river in southern China has been polluted with cancer-causing pollutants by China’s Jiangxi Copper mine, pollutants have also been found downstream in the Dawu river. Photo by Xinhua.
The Canada-China FIPA should be criticized because it will diminish democratic space in Canada to stop pipelines, mines and the destructive growth of the tar sands – and because it will also allow Canadian corporations to further pursue their agenda in China to the detriment of the workers, water and the land there.
The pace of industrialization in China to feed the world’s consumerism, plus its semiconductor and steel industry, has consumed massive volumes of water and contributed to a terrible water crisis there. It has been estimated that 90 percent of groundwater in their cities and 75 percent of their rivers and lakes are polluted – and as such some 700 million people drink contaminated water every day. It has also been forecast that by 2020 there could be 30 million environmental refugees in China due to water stress.
While China poses the threat of having the capital to invest in major expansions of the tar sands that will further hurt Indigenous peoples here, Canada’s record of its mining companies despoiling water and violating the human rights of workers throughout Latin America and other parts of the world should tell us that the workers and environment in China cannot benefit from this deal either.