750,000 die prematurely thanks to pollution in China…but you didn’t hear it from the World Bank

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The FT yesterday published an extraordinary story about the World Bank covering up–at the Chine government’s behest–part of a study it did estimating that 750,000 people annually die prematurely thanks to this country’s horrific environmental problems.
The government worried that the publication of this estimate might cause “social unrest” and apparently leaned on the World Bank to keep that figure out of its report. Ever eager to please, the Bank agreed.
Which raises any number of questions, the first one of which is: what’s more likely to cause “social unrest,” the fact that a whole lot of people have probably croaked thanks to foul air and undrinkable water here–or the World Bank publishing a guesstimate as to how many actually do die prematurely?
Unlike the contretemps that led to Paul Wolfowitz’s recent resignation as head of the Bank, this actually IS a scandal. Here’s the link to the FT piece. Kudos to Richard McGregor for getting the scoop.