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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs