The cancer village
Just 120 kilometers south of Beijing, Liukuaizhuang was a quiet village several years before the dramatic economic boom. 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.
One in fifty people there and in a neighboring hamlet have been diagnosed with cancer over the last decade, local residents say, well over ten times the national rate given in a health ministry survey earlier this year.
Nationwide there are dozens of places like Liukuaizhuang, where factories have blackened streams, poisoned farmland and choked the air.
Many in the “cancer village” fear the clean up is too late for them but they cling to hope that it will save their children and grandchildren from terminal illnesses.