COLUMN-For polluted China, gas is a matter of life or death: Kemp | Reuters

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed arehis own)

By John Kemp

LONDON May 21 (Reuters) - "If I work in your Beijing, Iwould shorten my life at least five years," Premier Zhu Rongji,a career politician from Shanghai, quipped in 1999, referring tothe notorious air pollution in China's northern capital.

Research has confirmed life expectancy in northern China is5.5 years shorter than in the south owing to the worse airpollution, and the shocking difference stems from awell-intentioned government policy to keep th