China spray-paints a mountain green

Since last August, workers in southwestern China have been spray-painting Laoshou mountain. On the government’s orders, the entire mountainside, which is barren, is to be painted green. Both the workers and villagers in the surrounding Fumin Country remain confused about the motives behind the decision, speculating it could be to improve the feng shui of the mountain, ...

604003_laushou_05.jpg
604003_laushou_05.jpg

Since last August, workers in southwestern China have been spray-painting Laoshou mountain. On the government's orders, the entire mountainside, which is barren, is to be painted green. Both the workers and villagers in the surrounding Fumin Country remain confused about the motives behind the decision, speculating it could be to improve the feng shui of the mountain, or part of an effort to "green" the area in the wake of environmental damage.

Xinhua, China's official news agency, estimates the cost of the paint project at around 470,000 yuan ($60,600). Villagers argued that a far greater area of the mountain could have been restored if that money had been used for actual plants and trees. So what was the official reason? "This is an order from above. You should ask the leader from above. I don't have any information on this," was the response from a worker at the Fumin County forestry department.

Since last August, workers in southwestern China have been spray-painting Laoshou mountain. On the government’s orders, the entire mountainside, which is barren, is to be painted green. Both the workers and villagers in the surrounding Fumin Country remain confused about the motives behind the decision, speculating it could be to improve the feng shui of the mountain, or part of an effort to “green” the area in the wake of environmental damage.

Xinhua, China’s official news agency, estimates the cost of the paint project at around 470,000 yuan ($60,600). Villagers argued that a far greater area of the mountain could have been restored if that money had been used for actual plants and trees. So what was the official reason? “This is an order from above. You should ask the leader from above. I don’t have any information on this,” was the response from a worker at the Fumin County forestry department.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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