News / Asia

Chinese Environmentalist Protests Cancer Village

A contaminated lake is seen near Dabaoshan in the northern part of China's Guangdong province August 27, 2009.
A contaminated lake is seen near Dabaoshan in the northern part of China's Guangdong province August 27, 2009.
Shannon Van Sant
China’s government acknowledged the existence of cancer villages earlier this year, but that recognition has not changed life in Wuli Village, where residents say water pollution is causing severe illness. 
 
Wei Dongying said cancer rates in her hometown have spiked because of pollution.  One of her neighbors was the most recent to fall ill.
 
She said he was more than 70 years old and died of esophageal cancer last month.
 
Wuli, in Zhejiang Province is one of hundreds of cancer villages in China, where industrial pollution has caused high rates of disease. Cancer mortality rates in China have risen 80 percent over the last 30 years, and the government has deemed half of the country’s rivers and lakes unsafe for human contact.  Soon after chemical factories moved into Wuli, the tap water at times turned red, and fish in the river began to die.  
 
Since then Wei said more than 10 percent of the village’s population has died of cancer. She keeps what she calls a diary of death, with thumbprint signatures of people who have fallen ill.
 
She said there is no solution but to keep a record and let others know what is happening.  
 
Wei and her husband, Shao Guantong, go fishing at night.   
 
She said they bring their flashlights on walks along the riverbanks, which let them see the foam and froth on the water’s surface.
 
Wei has sent water samples and her documentation of the dead and dying to the central government.  In February China officially acknowledged the existence of cancer villages in the country’s five-year plan.  Environmental groups estimate there are more than 400 cancer villages in China.  China’s Ministry of Environment announced a clampdown on the use of 58 toxic chemicals and promised a crackdown on polluting factories.  
 
For Wei the government’s recognition has come too late.  
 
"What use is that?"  Wei wanted to know.  "Can the government save a single life through this recognition?"
 
She said officials have made several promises over the last decade: factories will be required to use a waste water treatment facility; the government will move the factories out of the village or the villagers will be relocated.  Wei said none of these promises have been fulfilled, and instead, authorities have vowed to quell dissent.
 
The local government has threatened the villagers of Wuli with unspecified consequences if they continue their protests, and the windows in Wei’s home were recently smashed.  She said authorities will not be able to silence her as long as the chemical factories continue to discharge and her neighbors keep getting sick.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sun from: Taipei
June 30, 2013 3:32 AM
I'm afraid that it is too dangerous to visit to China now. CPR must stop wasting enormous amount of money for its military to invade neibouring countries. Instead, CPR must invest such money to improve its people's QOL. Despite being the second economic giant, CPR is much behind other developed countries in terms of human rights, freedom of speech, respecting laws (International Law, Patent Laws, etc.), moral/ethics, corporation with other countries, etc.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid