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Edit Title:[HugChina] Cancer hangs over villages along Huai River
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Bernd Chang
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Cancer rates have surged in mainland China since the 1990s to become the nation's biggest killer. Environmental activists estimate that there are at least 100 cancer villages in China in which cancer rate is considerably higher than average level due to heavy pollution.

Nationwide, cancer rates have surged in mainland China since the 1990s to become the nation's biggest killer. In 2007, the disease was responsible for one in five deaths, up 80% since the start of economic reforms 30 years earlier.

The Communist Party of China that embarked three decades ago on a modernization program says its policies have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. It points out that its environmental laws are among the toughest in the world. But environmental activists say the laws are only good on paper. And this is the cause that China's rivers, coastal waters and countryside are increasingly fouled by industrial pollution and that the levels of pollution in China are far outpace the West.

In 2010, investigative journalist Deng Fei, posted a widely circulated Google map showing more than 100 "cancer villages" in which cancer rate of the villagers is significant higher than average level. More recent reports suggest the number could be over 400.

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Bernd Chang
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December 2,2010 - The visible is tear drops of the suffering patients;The unvisible is the crime causing the desasters committed behind the curtain;There is a kind of profit that disdains human life;The cost of economic growth is high;It is possible that there is a balance between what man gets and what man loses, but the hazards should not be undertaken by those innocent people.

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Bernd Chang
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Cancer shrouds village: Death ghost hangs over Sunying village of Henan; New tombs, white couplets(for honouring those dead),funeral music, continuously seen and heard in four seasons of the year. Photographer:Deng Jia

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Bernd Chang
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Sunying village, Shenqiu City of Henan Province, lies on sides of Shayinghe, a tributary of Huai River. Sunying village has about 1600 people. Since 1990s, more than 100 villagers have died from cancer during the last 14 years. The village belongs to Zhoukou prefecture,which was once a famous "leather city" and economicly advanced region. However, the poorest villages downstream, suffer heavily from the environmental pollution made by the upstream rich people.

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Bernd Chang
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Sunying village belongs to Shenqiu city,Zhoukou prefecture,Henan province.

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Bernd Chang
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Stepping on the soil of Sunying village, man saw a funeral take place. According to statistics of the village committee, 205 villagers died during the last 14 years, the average anual death rate is 8.2%, obviously higher than the traditional figure 5%. Among the dead, 105 villagers died of cancer and corresponds to the rate 51.5%.

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Bernd Chang
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Accompanying the funeral music is the incessant sewage river and right the river changes the originally beautiful village with clear water and green hills to the current cancer village.

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Bernd Chang
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Dingji Township of Zhoukou prefecture was once a famous "leather town" and the foul water in the river has never been cleared away. The booming leather industry brought fortune to the town but cause catastrophic damage to the local environment. So far, 85 sewage treatment projects along the Huai River(淮河) have not started. Papermaking,chemistry, leather industry are the major sources of pollution for the Huai River. Especially papermaking industry contributes large chunk of pollution.

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Bernd Chang
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The polluted water flows down with the current of the river. All villages along banks of the river are victims of the environmental disaster.

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Bernd Chang
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All the villages with high rate of cancer incidence lie near the heavily polluted river. Villagers drink water provided not from purifying water plants but from wells digged by their own. The wells usually are 7-10 meters deep. Geological study shows that the water on ground and underground are infiltrated by each other. Due to heavy pollution of the Huai River, the underground water along Huai River is not suitable for drinking.

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Bernd Chang
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This is a cup of water from a village well. Who of those living in the cities dares to drink it? But the villagers have no other choice. The villagers usually pump the water from well on the evening then the next day use it for drinking and cooking when the pollutants have precipitated. For them, if the water looks clear then it is sanitary.

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Bernd Chang
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The pollutants in water encroach the health of villagers. Mrs. Liu Yuzhi, aged 39, suffers from bone cancer. 15 years ago when she got married and moved to this village she was very healthy. Early 2004 she was diagnosed to suffer from bone cancer and her family have paid 10,000 yuan for the disease. But now she has no money for further treatment. Treating cancer cost more money than the villagers can make for their whole life.

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Bernd Chang
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On hands and calfs of 70 years old Mr. Chen Wanghao spead large plagues and crusts. The dermatophytosis is difficult to treat because he has to contact the water river frequently. Mr. Chen often uses the skin disease to warn children not to play with the river water.

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Bernd Chang
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2 years old Jia Yaole was born in remote Xinjiang. This spring festival she was brought back to hometown of her grandmother. After a dozen days, on her face and body multiply erythema sprouted out and they were very itching. She cried everyday and asked to go back to Xinjiang.

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Bernd Chang
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Treating stomach cancer of his wife cost all savings of Mr. Meng but he still could not bring back her life. Mr. Meng is left in destitute. The first child was born with hereditary disease 12 years ago. The 3 years old younger son suffers from dysplasia. Meng Chuntian, party secretary of Mengzhai village told the following situation:80% of the 2398 villagers suffer from intestine disease. A majority of couples are infertile. 80 villagers have died of cancer.

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Bernd Chang
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The villagers have already strong fear of the water and excitedly talk of their misery. On the placard says: deadly water

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Bernd Chang
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Blood-red river water speads miserable atmosphare.

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Bernd Chang
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As well as desolateness free of life.

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Bernd Chang
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Sunying village of Shicao Township has only a very small clinic and Mr. Wang is the only doctor in this village. He is often the first man of this village that knows who suffers which disease. "The highest number of people die in a year is more than 30 during the last several years. as long as someone is sick and sent to hospital, the diagnosis is cancer, usually liver cancer, lung cancer or rectum cancer" Wang said.

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Bernd Chang
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42 years old Mr. Wang Laicheng suffers from myelitis and is paralyzed in bed. His wife has gone to Anhui and works as a migrant worker to support the family and pay for the treatment of her husband. It is now his mother that takes care of him and his old father takes charge of his farmland.

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Bernd Chang
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75 years old Mrs. Sun Lishi (right) in Huangmeng Village of Zhouying Township, takes care not only of her 55 years old son suffering from femoral head necrosis, but also of her daughter-in-law who suffering from oesophagus cancer.

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