At Southern Weekend, Tim Hathaway translates a recent piece by columnist and CMP fellow Xiao Shu (笑蜀) called “Life should not yield to development,” in which the writer reflects on the cultural and political causes of human tragedies in China.

A portion of the piece follows:

The blaze that never should have happened finally did happen at 728 Jiaozhou Road in Shanghai. No matter how hard rescuers tried, nothing could be done to lift our compatriots from the rolling flames. Another tragedy came on the heels of this one in Guizhou. 49 people employed by the Henan Zhongping Nenghua Group died because of a flooded mine. And recent reports indicate that on November 30 the Yide Mine in Xiangtan County flooded as well, trapping at least seven people.

With this backdrop People’s Daily published a commentary titled “What’s the point of development without the people?” It has served as an especially loud wake up call.

The time has come to discuss how to prioritize life and development. This is because there are far too many conflicts between economic development and the right to life which are the cause of an unending line of tragedies: mining accidents, demolitions that result in violence, fires, mud slides, gas explosions, industrial pollution. There is a new disaster almost every day which befalls our fellow citizens. It’s like an interminable Cold War. Where will it all end?

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