China is a wonderful place to live as long as you don’t eat, drink, breathe, or get sick. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
That the China Story is going to implode is already baked into the public health catastrophe that will unfold with a vengeance in the coming decade.
The financial pundits gushing over “The China Story”–that the Middle Kingdom’s industrialization is a permanent boon to the global economy and China’s poor–never calculate the human cost of that runaway industrialization and the vast inequalities it has unleashed.
The human cost is staggering: at least half the population is suffering from chronic lifestyle/environmental-related illnesses and 225 million suffer from mental disorders. For context, the population of China is estimated to be 1.39 billion, roughly 4.4 times the U.S. population of 317 million, and about 20% of the total global population.
Here are some estimates of China’s public health problems: (source links below)
— Half the population is estimated to be prediabetic (suffering from metabolic syndrome/diabesity).
— 12% of the populace now has diabetes, roughly 115 million people.
— An estimated 70% of China’s diabetics are undiagnosed; only 25% are receiving any treatment and of the 25%, the disease is only being controlled in 40% of those getting treatment.
— Noncommunicable diseases–cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer, account for 85% of total deaths in China today — much higher than the global average of 60%.
— Mental disorders rose by more than 50 percent between 2003 and 2008. An estimated 17.5% of the population (225 million) suffers from some form of mental problem, one of the highest rates in the world.
— More than 300 million people in China — roughly equivalent to the entire U.S. population of 317 million — smoke tobacco.
— 200 million workers are directly exposed to occupational hazards.
— Informal estimates suggest a large percentage of the urban population suffers from lung/pulmonary diseases. Over the last 30 years, deaths ascribed to lung cancer have risen by a factor of five in China.
— 160 million Chinese adults have hypertension (high blood pressure).
— In 2006, 80 percent of China’s health budget was spent on just 8.5 million government officials.
— Tthe rate of health-care coverage is high, but the level of benefits is still very low. 836 million rural residents who were officially covered by the government’s plan still had to pay the lion’s share of their medical bills. The government coverage paid a mere 8.6% of rural residents’ total healthcare expenditures.
To continue reading, and for links on Chinese statistics: The Costs of China’s Industrialization