From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November
On the outskirts of Beijiang, southeast of Beijing, a Chinese publicly-owned corporation SDIC has built what the New York Times refers to as a “technical marvel: an ultrahigh-temperature, coal-fired generator with state-of-the-art pollutions controls, mated to advanced Israeli equipment that uses its leftover heat to distill seawater into fresh water”.
The fresh water so generated costs twice as much to produce as what it sells for. However, per capita fresh water supplies are dwindling at an alarming rate. With most enterprises wealthy enough to set up such a project being capitalist enterprises tied to profitability, not many desalination plants, although desperately needed, are being produced. It is fortunate that China is still able to make an important contribution to the future of humanity.
China’s goal is to quadruple its production of desalinated water by 2020 from the current 180m gallons to about 800m, which will require 10-12 more plants like the one that has just been completed. Currently, less than 60 percent of China’s desalination equipment is domestic, with the rest being imported mainly from Israel, but China plans to increase its production of such equipment to provide 90 percent of its needs by 2020.
Meanwhile, on 1 November, China launched an unmanned spacecraft into orbit whose function will be to practise docking techniques to join with the Tiangong-1 or ‘Heavenly Palace’ experimental module launched on 29 September. Space exploration is another project that economic crisis tends to wipe off the agenda of capitalist countries.