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China’s Poor Regions Worry About Climate Justice in Net-Zero Push

Polluted coal-reliant provinces made China’s megacities rich. Now President Xi Jinping’s green ambitions to curb carbon emissions risk leaving them behind.

Shougang Corp.’s Qian'an steelworks in Tangshan, Hebei province, in 2016. 

Shougang Corp.’s Qian'an steelworks in Tangshan, Hebei province, in 2016. 

Photographer: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

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The furnaces and cooling towers on Capital Steel Campus in west Beijing used to spew toxic smoke. Today they’re nothing more than quaint paraphernalia decorating an 860-hectare park, which has been transformed into a tourist attraction commemorating China’s economic miracle. Chic cafes and bookshops sit among defunct tubes and ladders — the sanitized industrial vibe makes them a popular backdrop for selfies.