Chinese activist asks Internet users: What does your river look like?

Deng Fei, a renowned Chinese journalist and social activist, is conducting an interesting survey over Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. He’s asked a simple question: “What is the river like in your hometown? While celebrating Chinese New Year at home, please take a photo of your river and upload it to Weibo for us to see.” This clearly touched a nerve, as it has resulted in hundreds of photos of extremely dirty-looking rivers being sent in from all over the country.
Some of those writing in blame factories for polluting their rivers; others point to garbage dumped by local residents. What’s certain is that the results aren't pretty.
The issue of polluted waters has been gaining increasing amounts of attention online as of late. Recently, an entrepreneur in Zhejiang took to Weibo to offer a 200,000 yuan (about 24,000 euro) reward to the local environmental protection bureau chief – but only if he agrees to swim in a polluted river for 20 minutes. The photos he posted of this river show it overflowing with garbage.
Last year, thousands of people protested against local government in the coastal city of Qidong over concern that a planned industrial waste pipeline would result in the sea’s pollution. The project ended up being scrapped.

“People who live near the canal cannot open their windows because of the stink”

Li Yan lives in Yichang, located in Hubei province. She explained why she answered Deng Fei’s question:
The picture I sent in is of a canal in my community, which flows into the Yangtze River [Editor’s Note: the Yangtze River is the longest river in all of Asia]. The canal is littered with garbage. The residents along the canal throw the garbage and emit waste water into it directly. During the summer, after it rains, the water stinks terribly. People who live near the canal cannot open their windows. Old people tell us that in the past it was heavenly – they caught fish and could swim in the canal.
Here are a couple of the answers Deng Fei received directly on Weibo:
"If you want to investigate pollution of water underground, please come to Heze. There are many chemical plants here, but there is no formal sewage treatment plant. Waste water has been pumped into the ground for a decade. My home town is 30 kilometres from the city, and since we don’t have running water, we drink water from the ground. The water has tasted bitter for several years now. People don’t know if it’s harmful; please help us."
"Neijing River is the main river in Honghu, Hubei province. It connects Honghu Lake to the Yangtze River. Ten years ago, people swam, rowed dragon boats, and washed their vegetables in the river. Now, the river is covered in weeds and garbage. I hope the government can do something to save our lakes and rivers."


The press should be inviolate.

You won't see me in China because I won't go there. Everything I read about the government's total failure to prevent pollution leads to the disgusting environment you'll see today. Wealthy Chinese will leave China for greener pastures, because nobody wants to be surrounded by oppression, overall poverty, and filth.

The rivers of Western Wales

I live in a village called Llanon (which translates as "The Church of Non") and we have two rivers which are called Afon in Welsh. These are the Peris and the Cledan. Both rivers are generally speaking very clean indeed, except after heavy rainfall when they turn a very muddy brown thanks to the intensity of the rain.

This sounds like the posting

This sounds like the posting of the Chinese government.

Did you read it?

Hardly Chinese propaganda. The comment refers to rivers in Wales.

What did your river look like in 1982

I was a student at Beijing, Yuyanxueyuan in 1982 and I can vouch that the rivers all over China were clean and full of fishes. No fertiliser and no weed killer was used then. No plastic bag and no can or plastic bottle were sold in China so the country was clean. The bed sheets were not bleached white which upset foreign tourists but the rivers and lakes were filled with fishes.

Your statement reads like

Your statement reads like propaganda, and quite frankly what you allege the state of the rivers in 1982 from your limited experience in Beijing is irrelevant, considering it was THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Perhaps this person was

Perhaps this person was commenting on how drastically the situation has changed? China's industry has developed a lot since 1982: I can imagine that rivers that were pristine 30 years ago are poisoned sewers today.


Um I think that's the point. 30 years ago the rivers and lakes were clean which they obviously are not now.

the people need to get out

the people need to get out and be productive pic up some trash have pride in your neighborhood