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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid