Chinese Cancer Villages Show The High Human Cost Of Industrialization

Chinese Cancer Villages Grave

A man mourns his dead sibling near Xintai.

In November 2013, an eight-year-old girl from Jiangsu province became the youngest person in China to be diagnosed with lung cancer. While her doctors hesitated to draw a causal relationship between pollution and the girl’s cancer, they did say that it was likely due to prolonged exposure to airborne particles from vehicle emissions.

Given how rare it is for a child to have that kind of cancer, its exact causes are still disputed. Regardless, it helps highlight the very high human costs of “growth above all else” governance that has defined Chinese policy for the past couple decades, and brings renewed attention to Chinese “cancer villages”, or areas near pollutive factories with unusually high death rates. Experts estimate that there are approximately 450 of these villages across the country.

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Chinese Cancer Villages Jaundice

Chen Guokang stares at the camera with yellowed eyes. The 51 year old has been diagnosed with lung cancer, which has since spread to his liver and resulted in jaundice (hence the change in eye coloring). Guokang hails from Sanjiang Village, which suffers severely from water pollution.

Chinese Cancer Villages Kids Mess

These children smile while their elders, both deceased due to respiratory problems, watch over them.

Little Boy Drinking

According to the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, 20 percent of Chinese farmland is polluted as a result of industrial policies, farm chemicals and lax environmental regulation.

Drinking Water

Arsenic and cadmium have been listed as the primary pollutants.

Chinese Cancer Villages Textile

A hazy dawn near a Ningbo textile factory. Chinese media, academics and NGOs have estimated that there are 459 cancer villages within China.

Chinese Cancer Villages Factory

A steel factory in the outskirts of Beijing creates a waste-filled lake.

Chinese Cancer Villages Waste

Waste enters this Yinzhou lake early in the morning. According to an annual report released by China's Ministry of Land and Resources, 59.6 percent of underground water cannot be used directly for drinking.

Chinese Cancer Villages Waste Water

The dyes in textile factories often enter waterways, making them blue or purple. They invariably fill them with a number of hazardous chemicals that will be ingested by Chinese who rely on waterways for food and drink.

Chinese Cancer Villages Water Woman

A woman from Yanglingang Village retrieves water from the Yangtze river. In the past decades, factories have erupted along the river, contaminating it with waste from power and chemical plants, as well as that of paper-making factories. Since the Yangtze, along with the Yellow River, cuts across China, the water pollution is not confined to a specific region. Once the rivers reach coastal cities, the water must undergo a number of treatments before it is potable.

Chinese Cancer Villages Dye Plant

Factory discharge pipes snake around public thoroughfares and into waterways.

Chinese Cancer Villages Survey

An environmental activist surveys pollution levels in wastewater ditches near chemical plants in Wuli Village, Hangzhou City.

Chinese Cancer Villages Fishing Water

A couple looks out to chemical-filled water, used for fishing, near Wuli Village.

Chinese Cancer Villages Cancer Sufferer

Featured above is a cancer victim from Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province. He believes his cancer was caused by water pollution. Many others in his village, located within the vicinity of handfuls of waste-emitting industries, are also stricken with cancer.

Chinese Cancer Villages Breast Cancer

Cancer village resident Wang Jinlan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, only for it to return again four years later at a far more advanced state. Four months after this photo was taken, Wang died.

Chinese Cancer Villages Treating Patients

A doctor aids two cancer victims who live together on a boat. The woman, featured on the left, decided to stop seeking treatment. Her husband suffers from esophageal cancer.

Chinese Cancer Villages Woman Home

Featured above is Guan-yin, a woman whose husband died of stomach cancer and for whom she's fighting in her anti-pollution efforts.

Chinese Cancer Villages Children Factory

Chinese news agency Xinhua released a sobering figure in June 2013: six people are diagnosed with cancer every minute.

Chinese Cancer Villages Beijing Haze

In 2014, the Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry noted that 71 out of 74 Chinese cities monitored did not meet environmental standards.

Chinese Cancer Villages Chemicals

Pollution is always near in Wuli Village.

Chinese Cancer Villages Guard

Many have dubbed China's pollution problem the "airpocalypse", with Beijing becoming "almost uninhabitable" due to pollution.

Chinese Cancer Villages Smoke

Smoke snakes through the air in Shaoxing Binhai's Industrial Zone.

Wuli Village

Smog makes mornings and afternoons indistinguishable in many parts of China. Featured here is Wuli Village, Zhejiang Province.

Chinese Cancer Villages Exercise

Retirees practice Tai Chi on a hazy morning in Fuyang city, Anhui province.

Chinese Cancer Villages Bikes

For many growing up in China, like these kids in Beijing, smog-filled skies are the norm. This has grave implications: toxic smog not only contributes to the four million cases of cancer in China each year, it's also responsible for the closure of schools and can impede photosynthesis, which has the potential to disrupt China's food supply.

Chinese Cancer Villages Shanghai

Beyond its impacts on health and food supply, toxic smog hampers security. Beijing officials have shown concern that smog may render surveillance cameras useless, effectively inviting individuals to commit crimes with the knowledge that smog will conceal their identity.

Chinese Cancer Villages Scrap Search

In one attempt to combat the air pollution problem, the Chinese government has used artificial rain to disperse smog in populous cities. Of course, enforcement is tricky: since local governments rely on tax revenue from polluters, they aren't inclined to push them too hard for reform.

Chinese Cancer Villages Illegal Dump

In February 2013, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection included "cancer villages" in its five-year plan. This was the first time they had been mentioned since 1998, when the concept of cancer villages was first introduced.

Chinese Cancer Villages Fenghua River

Cancer rates in China are rising, and while the exact cause is not known, those aged between 20 and 40 are being diagnosed more frequently than any other age group.

Chinese Cancer Villages Running

In Beijing, some schools have gone to extraordinary lengths to combat the "airpocalyspe", spending over $5 million on a pair of domes to cover their campuses and give students a sense of "normality" beneath the plumes of smog.

Artificial Lake

A trash-filled frozen lake in Xingtai, China's most polluted city. In 2013, the city of 7.6 million people had only 38 days when its air quality met national standards.

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A Real Christmas Village Exists In Yiwu, China

Red Dye in Yiwu, China

Source: Daily Mail

“China’s Christmas Village” is located in Yiwu, a city in the Zhejiang Province. Though there are no elves, snow or reindeer in sight, Yiwu produces around 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations.

The UN referred to the real Christmas village as the “largest small commodity wholesale market in the world,” and it’s easy to see why. In the region’s 600 factories, migrant laborers work exhausting 12-hour days, assembling a majority of the ornaments, snowflakes, tinsel and other decorations by hand. Despite working long hours and being exposed to various chemicals, employees only earn about $460 a month.

Real Christmas Village Tree Making

Source: Daily Mail

Making Christmas Decorations

Source: Daily Mail

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The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel: Modern Yet Traditional

Sunrise Kempinski Hotel Horizon

Source: Kempinski

It’s not even open yet, but the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel already has the world talking about its seamless blend of modern, eco-friendly design and traditional Chinese culture. Constructed in a giant, sun-like orb shape, Beijing’s Sunrise Kempinski Hotel is covered with more than 10,000 glass panels, which are meant to reflect the surrounding scenery.

Up Close of Sunrise Hotel

Designs from the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel. Source: Hospitality Net

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Long Ma: La Machine’s Massive Fire-Breathing Dragon

Imagine driving to work in the morning, only to run into a massive mechanical dragon walking through the city streets to its own theme music. That’s what happened to the people of Nantes, France, who were greeted by the sight of Long Ma, a fire-breathing mechanized dragon sculpture. The huge yellow dragon weighs about 46 tons—more than the weight of eight elephants—and measures in at about 40 feet tall. The incredibly lifelike sculpture was created by none other than the talented French designer François Delarozière and his team La Machine.

Mechanical Dragon in France

Source: Europe1

La Machine Latest Project in France

Source: Twitter

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