China ‘Cancer Village’ Pays Ultimate Price for Growth

Reuters reports on Liukuaizhuang, Tianjin, where one in fifty people have been diagnosed with cancer over the past ten years:

Three decades of reforms and opening up since 1978 have transformed China from a rigidly ideological backwater into the world’s fourth largest economy, lifting millions out of poverty, but not without a price.

Nationwide there are dozens of places like Liukuaizhuang, where factories have blackened streams, poisoned farmland and choked the air.

Just 120 kilometers south of Beijing, Liukuaizhuang was a quiet village before the dramatic economic boom was kicked off by a series of low-key Communist reforms on Dec 18, 1978.

Twenty years later almost 100 chemical plants were scattered across what used to be farmland and thirty years on someone in almost every family is dead or dying of cancer — the youngest just seven years old — according to a local activist.

Liukuaizhuang is mentioned on worstpolluted.org as part of a list of the ten worst pollution problems of 2008. Read CDT’s coverage of other so-called cancer villages in China.