China, coal and COP26: can the world’s biggest emitter give up its dirty habit?

China, coal and COP26: can the world’s biggest emitter give up its dirty habit?

Those who helped fuel China’s growth fear for livelihoods, while power shortages create transition dilemma for Xi Jinping

When he was a little boy in the 1980s, Wang Xiaojun was taught to be proud of his home town of Lüliang in the north-western Chinese province of Shanxi. Shanxi is China’s biggest coal-producing region, and Lüliang was a significant base for the Red Army during the second world war.

Nestled in the mountains of the dusty Loess Plateau, Lüliang, a city of 3.4m people, has had less to shout about in recent years. A series of corruption scandals in the city brought down several high profile officials shortly after President Xi Jinping came to power in 2013; there are concerns over the high number of babies born with congenital defects, blamed by experts on air pollution; and, last week, a huge flood forced coal mines to close just as China scrambles to tackle its energy crunch.

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