Thursday, February 15, 2007

China goes green; very creative!

Chinese villagers confused over decision to paint mountain green
New York Sun Feb 15

Villagers in southwestern China are scratching their heads after an estimated more than $60,000 was spent to paint an entire barren mountainside green.

Workers who began spraying Laoshou Mountain last August told villagers they were doing so on orders of the county government but were not told why, news reports said yesterday.

The official Xinhua News Agency estimated the cost of the paint job at $60,600 and quoted villagers saying that if it had been spent on actual plants and trees, the money could have restored a far greater area of barren mountain.

Some villagers speculated that Fumin County officials, whose office building faces the mountain, were trying to change the area's feng shui — the ancient Chinese belief of harmonizing one's physical environment for maximum health and financial benefit.

A woman who answered the phone at the Fumin County forestry department said they also were unaware of reasons behind the paint job.

"This is an order from above. You should ask the leader from above. I don't have any information on this," the woman said. Like many Chinese bureaucrats, she refused to give her name. Others speculated that it was an unusual attempt at "greening" the area in keeping with calls for more attention to environmental protection.