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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: March 2021

17 - China’s Cancer Villages

from Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes


For some decades now, China’s environmental problems have been well known. Ranging from headline-grabbing instances of life-threatening air pollution in the country’s major cities, to horrendous industrial accidents that claim shocking numbers of lives, to water pollution that make the rivers run black, the world has come to know China’s pollution problems as systemic and serious in nature. For decades, the government has taken the position that pollution was an unavoidable by-product of the nation’s need to industrialize and develop economically. Nevertheless, concern about pollution has now become so widespread among ordinary citizens that an investigative documentary on China’s air pollution issues, “Under the Dome,”1 garnered tens of millions of views on YouTube before the government shut it down.2 Across China, public protests and activism related to environmental issues are now commonplace.

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