By Erik Crouch
Deng’s “Cancer Village” map from 2010
Deng Fei, recently of “Show me a Dirty River” fame, is once again revealing China’s deteriorating environmental state. In 2010, Deng published a Google Maps document of more than 100 “Cancer Villages” throughout China, highlighting towns with significantly higher-than-average rates of cancer. This map has now returned to the headlines, as the Chinese Ministry of Environment Protection admitted the existence of such cancer hot-spots, at figures even higher than Deng’s original findings.
Cancer has been the nation’s biggest killer since the 1990s, and air/industrial/water pollution is only making the numbers grow. Caijing reports:
The number of Chinese cancer villagers could exceed 247, covering 27 provinces, according to a paper by a university student, who made the research based on existing data, with 197 of them being confirmed. But recent researches, as citied by Xinhua, suggest the number could be over 400.
When even Xinhua is reporting bad news, there must be a problem. The Ministry of Environment’s comments are the first time the phrase “cancer village” has appeared in ministry documents; the villages’ residents are presumably less-than-thrilled for the shout-out.