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4 Facing a Water Crisis: A Political and Social Analysis

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Chapter Summary

On the last day of 2012, Shanxi Tianji Coal Chemical Group leaked 38.7 tons of aniline into the drainage system of the city of Lucheng. This incident is a typical cross-border water pollution crisis, showcasing the system loopholes and governance crisis in environmental protection. In China, the issue of water is generally taken as a scientific, technological, environmental problem, but not a political problem. According to Petra Dobner's analysis, the people and the government should join together in the discussion of water politics. Politics is about the authoritative arrangement of resources, involving the following questions: Do we share the ownership of water resources or is it a resource that can be privatized? Who has the legitimate power to stop water pollution? How should polluters be held accountable? Properly answering these questions is a matter of survival for humans and requires scientific and technological innovations, and ultimately political and institutional arrangements.

Keywords: Lucheng; Petra Dobner's analysis; Shanxi Tianji Coal Chemical Group; water politics; water pollution crisis



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