by Henrietta Wang
Following North Korea's testing of one of the smallest nuclear devices ever, a top group of Chinese think tank members got together at a tank base in northern China to consider the effects of nuclear war on China, and how China would look in the post apocalyptic world. Henrietta Wang transfers the info.
It is pretty clear that post nuclear apocalypse, China would look very different from how it does today. "Aside from the obvious structural damage," (1) claims Wang Xilei, "Chinese society in the post-nuclear war era would be quite disturbing. It is likely that the sense of community would just evaporate. It would become a free-for-all. Outsiders would flock to the cities to scavenge, the countryside having been turned to near desert, devoid of trees and water."
Ma Dong, of the Chinese centre for studying things that sound modern, concurs. "China would descend into a kind of primitive state. Individuals would be primarily driven by a selfish greed, basically doing anything to get as much as possible for themselves and possibly their immediate families. It will become quite acceptable to push other people out of the way in order to get somewhere first, for example. Empathy, sympathy and compassion would simply become a thing of the past.
"Any attempt to do anything cultural would be seen as pointless and a waste of time and effort. In such an environment, caring about people you don't know would also be seen as wasted energy."
Fan of the Mad Max movies Chao Xinan had the following to say. "Some vehicles will survive the blast, and these will be coveted by everyone over nearly everything else. When people get in one that works, they will drive recklessly and without paying attention to the safety of other drivers or road-users."
Anthropologist Li Lili is more concerned about what people will be like physically. "It is possible that the tunnels under Beijing would be filled with a weird species of semi-mutants. Some with limbs twisted into ridiculous positions, others giving off a horrible, post-civilised odour."
"They will probably babble incoherently, and often just make noise like animals. In general the people will have no sense of noise or peace and will eat in any environment, no matter how deafening. Also, with supplies of nutritious food disrupted, the survivors will be forced to eat intestines, bugs, lizards, scorpions and even penises."
Neuroscientist Hu Lanbo has done some simulations of the effect of fallout on the survivors' nervous systems. "Their radiation-warped brains will lose any sense of personal space, and individuals will stand unnecessarily close to one another for no apparent reason. Nerve damage to the lungs will result in frequent build-ups of phlegm, which will be ejected loudly and anywhere."
With such a bleak outlook for China following a nuclear war, we can all but hope that world leaders do all in their power to stop such a terrible place being created.
(1) Structural damage would include empty "building shells" standing all over the city, piles of earth, dirt and concrete. Dust swirling in the toxic air would make breathing difficult. The sun wouldn't be visible for days at a time. According to the book "China after the Nuclear Attack" by Cao Nima.