China Shifting Into Green Gear

Communists know they need knowledge-based economy
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2008 5:18 PM CDT
China Shifting Into Green Gear
Chinese workers labor at a construction site for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with the background covered with smog in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007.    (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Beijing wants to create a greener and more modern economy without losing its grip on society—but that leaves officials in a bind, Thomas L. Friedman writes in the New York Times. A green, knowledge-based economy requires personal freedoms that China may be unwilling to provide. But it must act, writes Friedman, for the oil that fueled China's boom is now pricey and its labor force is no longer Asia's cheapest.

"The problem for the ruling Communist Party is this," Friedman writes. “China can’t have a greener society without empowering citizens to become watchdogs and allowing them to sue local businesses and governments that pollute, and it can’t have a more knowledge-intensive innovation society without a freer flow of information and experimentation." (More China stories.)

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