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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid