Created: 1996-05-15, Last update: 1997-03-30, Author: Holger Blasum, URL:, Parent:

quotations from Liu Ningrong, Angry Earth ( Fennu de Diqiu)

Buffalo Horn Edition
(Xijiaocongshu),Chinese Workers' Press( Zhongguo Gongren Chubanshe)
,Beijing 1991.刘宁荣,愤怒的地球,犀角丛书,中国人民出版社.
these are just interspersed quotations from all over the book. It's
hard to write this kind of book in China and so its obvious that some
figures may be not entirely objective or even contradictory. Nonetheless
the very large part of these data are credible. Annotaions being given
in brackets.
page 24:why does everone in Beijing need an electrical fan now - we did
without before
page 38:1988.4.11:sandstorm in Beijing
49-50:the Honghan Plateau (红汉平原) in historical times was called
:"Lakes and ponds everywhere,the larger hundreds of miles, the smaller
some tens of miles (1 mile=0,5km)", is devasted by overexploitation,
for example in the Middle Yangtse Region Mingzhuyun ( 明珠陨, Hubei
Province) you don't see a shadow of its former richness. Already the
Qian Long (18th century) government discovered that this environmet was
endangered and prohibited its further exploration, but this was
fruitless:"First man and water fought over the earth for profit ( 利)
,after that they fought for the losses( 殃) . . . in the fifties
exploration was organized again, the lake surface diminished from 8300
to 2370 km2, droughts are frequent now, water animals extincting.
53:Asia is felling 8,000,000 ha forrest p.a.
54:what makes feel man worst is that from worlds annual 30 billion m3
wood, half of it is burned, half of the burned wood is burned in China
56:the forest coverage rate in China fell from 12.7% in 70s to 8.9% now.
major flood catastrophes (due to increased water flow from the denuded
areas) were reported 3 times in the 50s, 5 times in the 60s, 6 times in
the 70s and anually in the 80s; in 1980 China's wood consumption was
400 million m3, whereas only 300 million m3 of new wood grew during
that time
58:prairies:from the 60s in China 1 billion Mu (15 Mu=1ha) of grassland
deteriorated (退化),that is 1/3 of the whole grassland surface. in the
70s 15% of grassland were deteriorating, in the 80s this raised to 30%
(severe example: Urdos 鄂尔多斯grasslands);in the early 50s China had
30 million cattle, now there are 100 million cattle; thus decrease from
115 Mu per haed cattle to 34 Mu/head cattle
59:since the 50s 100 million Mu grassland became deserted 开荒, for
example in the early sixties 5.7 million Mu were "explored" in Qinghai
(for intensive agriculture) , more severe losses during Cultural
revolution's "Grain for Aim" 以粮为钢 era
63:since the end 40s 1.16 million km2 suffered from soil erosion,i.e. 13
.5% of the area of China
64:Chinese farmers are using 3 million Mu of arable land p. a. for
building houses
76:now there is 1.4 Mu of arable land per capita in China, will it fall
below 1 Mu in 2050 ? (what the tendency is)
76:some people made an interesting comparision: if every Chinese's
tongue contains 4cm2 area, the opened mouth of 1 billion people can
instantly devour a cake as large as the Purple Bamboo Park in Beijing
77:the black soil of the north-east is being lost at a speed of 100
tons per ha p.a.,p.e. in Heilongjiangs Baiquan 拜泉 Xian's ploughed
soils the loss is 1cm p.a.Under natural conditions, it takes 120 to 400
years to produce 1cm soil
80:the magnificent Gezhou dyke葛洲坝is the pride of China, and nearly
annually we hear reports about it. What nobody seems to know is that
here up to 680 million tons of sludge are accumulated p.a. , after an
unknown amount of time the electropower station will become flatland
81:the alarming Jing River 荆江 is 10m higher than the surrounding
Jianghan Plain 江汉平原 (8 million Mu)and all over its 182km length
surrounded by huge dykes, because the water becomes slower after
having the three gorges, so that the mud settles down
81:annual mud efflux rates of major rivers(i.e. soil loss of the areas s
urrounding them!): Huanghe: 1.6 billion tons(cf.p.79), Changjiang: 500
million tons;already the latters 500 million tons are equivalent to
82:in Sichuan 383,000 km2 are suffering soil erosion ( 60%of the
whole province)
107:Hangzhou,Suzhou:in the 50s the Xihu's water was good to clean the
rice and food, in the 60s it became bad, in the 70s crabs and fishes
disappeared, in the 80s you shut the closet-hole (which serves as water
efflux as well) when not washing:五十年代淘米洗采,六十年代水质变坏, 七十
108: Cangzhou 沧州after having depleted its originally rich water
ressources, had to use ground-water, which is contaminated with fluoride
.In the 100,000 inhabitant town, people suffering from fluorosis are 64%
, young school-children are 100%. Visible are the yellow teeth, what is
not visible are the weak bones. The young girls from Cangzhou avoid to
open their mouth when courting.
113:when the UN environment surveying team observed satellite photos in
1979,the town of Benxi 本溪 seemed to have disappeared. Although Benxi
is an producing steal, coal and cement nationwide and internationally,
the UN inspectors knew it from another point of view: the city above
which the sky never opens. (114) The white-dressed surgeons also know
this place from another aspect:They don't need any explanation, or any
outer expression, they see from your thoracic cavity (lungs): "You must
be from Benxi".That is the result of living some decades under the
smoke-stacks of Benxi and not anybody of the young lads from Benxi
manages to pass the physical exam for the military. Approaching Benxi
your nose fills with black dust, and white cloth turns black, Benxi's
sun is dusty-yellow and the trees are not green. For exporting their
raw materials nationwide the Benxi people have to bear 910,000 tons of
smoke and 1,220,000 tons of dust p.a.Out of the city area's 420 companies
200 are emitting pollution.Were the 1,930,000 tons of smoke and dust
formed into standard bricks, they'd make up a line of 107, 000 km.
Besides the city is emitting 87.5 billions m3 of poisonous gases, the
average sulfur dioxide concentration is 0.19mg/m3,(115) which is by far
surpassing the limit level for smog alarm in the USA. No wonder, it's
hard to get a sight of the city even from the 600m high hills
surrounding it. The people having to inhale this are by annually
increasing rates dying by pulmonary deseases,the cancer rate incraesed 2
.2 times during the last years.In the last dozen of years there were
over 20 big pollution accidents, 4 involving the decease of men, animals
and birds,10,000 Mu soil are damaged, the direct damage is over 10
million yuan, the indirect chronic damage 300 million yuan.I found an
engineer who came to Benxi in the early 60s, who tried everything to
get away from this place, not for his wife, or for himself, only
because "I do not want that the whole heart of my child becomes stained
black." That's the reason why Benxi doesn't attract any skilled
labour from outside and even its own engineers want to go. Nobody wants
to invest here neither, and the loss is hard to calculate.(116)Now four
suburbs and the city of Dandong 丹东are requiring for reparation
payments for environmental losses, this kind of accusations might
repeat in the future.And Benxi inhabitants are waking up from their
long lethargy. When the author was in Benxi, some young people just
happened to present a catalog of environmental measures to the
municipal government. The mayor afterwards proposed "who can solve
Benxi's environmental problems should become mayor". But, it's hard for
the children to redeem their parents' debt (saying), the pollution has
accumulated for decades and the carbon- based infrastructure ( coal
consumption: 6 million ton/p.a.)not easy to change, most factories
were designed in the 30s and 40s.Industial zones are interspersed with
inhabitants areas and the city is surrounded by mountains.
124:the hepatitis A epidemy in Shanghai in spring 1988 ( 10, 000 cases
)broke out after some people ate hairy blood clams 毛蚶living living in
fecal-rich water
127:from 1978 on for 15 months, there were 7 "black floods" in the
Huanghe at Lanzhou, leaving impressions of terror; through a 1. 4m
diameter pipe in the west of the city over 1000 tons pollutants plus 150,
000 tons coal dust had been discharged.
128:in the 70s China built the first sewage treatment facility
129: Elegy of the lakes: Lake Luobu( 罗布泊) is famous for its
historical meaning, and when you go there you still see bird over the
smaragd waters. But it's becoming dryer and maybe will repaet the fate
of the Qinghai青海,Fanyang番又阳and Dongting洞庭 lakes.In Lake Qinghai
from 1976 to now an area of 3000 qm2 (sic!) has become dried, so that
the bird island already has become a peninsula. Lake Fanyang is the
largest fresh water sea of China. Annually River Gan 赣江 imports 21
million tons of mud into it. When I came back from Lake Dongting I felt
especially sad and desolated, although I originally came to participate
in a vivid memorial for a dead poet. But alas, I hadn't seen that
place for years, and so what I had in mind was his line "I see the
shape of the boatman and the hills at the lake of Dongting, which
adjoins the mountains and takes the great river, with clear waves and
boundless(予观夫巴陵胜状,在洞庭一湖,衔远山,吞长江,洁洁荡荡, 模无际涯) "
.Well, if the Song poet Fan Zhongyan范仲淹came to Lake Dongting now, he
wouldn't write any poems either. At least, it's dubious whether he
could write again a line like "First all under heaven was sorrow, and I
felt worried; afterwards all was happy and I felt happy(先天下之忧而忧,
后天下之乐而乐)". In 1826, lake Dongtings area was 6000 km2, now its
down to 2091 km2, large and small sandbanks and sand shoals floating
everywhere, at least you know why it's so small now. The water is not
clean neither. Lake Dongting has become the silt of the river pollution
, industrial wastewater pollution has reached 41.2413 million tons p. a.
Fish are all dead, the people drinking this water when seeing the lake
nod and sigh. Lake Dongting not only suffers from the sand and the
pollution, but occasionally produces floods too. In late August 1988
there was heavy rain and one after another 17 surrounding counties 县
declared emergency. On September 1st, the old people standing at the
point where the surging see water and floods of the river merged, said
they hadn't seen so much water in all their life of 80 years. The sea
has to take up 150000 tons of industrial and 150000 tons of
agricultural wastewater a day, rich in high concentrated organic waste
and heavy metals.
(131)Lake Jingpo 镜泊湖 is a high moutain barrier lake. The water is
clear as a bright mirror.But this pearl too is fading. In the sixties
there were only 3 houses at its banks, till 1987 this increased to 59
buildings of all kinds of recreation centers and hotels. Uncontrolled
growth brings uncontrolled pollution: Daily over 1200 tons of
uncleaned household wastewater enter the see, containing the feces of
400,000 tourists.
138: to produce a ton of rice you need 1400 to 2100 times water, fot
wheat 700-1300 times, for paper 300 times, for fibers 1200-1700 times.
142: daily Shanghai produces 8000 tons household garbage, 3000 tons
construction garbage, 22,000 tons industrial garbage.
148: nationwide annual garbage production in cities: 70 million tons
,whereof (151) 56% coal ashes, 36% organic (like vegetables)
155: from 1986 to 1988 the industralized countries exported 6 million
tons of garbage into the Third World, mostly to Africa
157: Japan's last years recycling quotas; newspapers 50%, glass bottles
55%, drink cans 66%, plastics 50%
167: China's biggest fishing site Danshan丹山,famous as Newfoundland or
Peru, makes up one third of China's sea fishing. The figures testify
it's being overfished: they found in the 60s yearly; large yellow
croaker大黄鱼:60 million tons, small yellow croaker小黄鱼: 25 million
tons,cuttlefish墨鱼: 35 million tons; in 1986 these three figures were
: 0.2-0.25 million tons, nearly zero, 0.5-1 million tons respectively.
183: from Feb. 1st to 10th 1988 the police inspected 73 hotels and
restaurants in Harbin for illegal dishes. Result: 2425 kg of brown bear
paws (you have to kill 480 bears for that); 2070kg of elk noses 鸵鹿鼻
,that equals 1030 elks, over 10,000 飞龙, sparrows铁雀 over 100, 000;
frogs (as 中国林蛙) 246,000.

He Bochuan,China in the Valley( Shan'aoshang de Zhongguo) , Guizhou
People's Press,1989,June,何博传,山坳上的中国, 贵州人民出版社. ( 135, 000

57:from the 55,900 km2 of hill regions of Shandong, momentarily 43, 000
km2 are suffering from erosion, the annual loss is 200 million m3,
equalling to 3.5 million tons of chemical fertilizer.The arable land of
the province was reduced from 138 million Mu in 1955 to 108 million Mu
in 1984
62:in the last thirty years, 730,000 students graduated from China's
agricultural universities and colleges,but only 34.3% continued to work
in the field of agriculture
88:in 1979, China produced 13. 02 million boxes of cigarettes( each
containing 50,000 cigarettes), in 1986 it were 25.93 million boxes
109:in order to import new technologies,from 1979 to 1984, China signed
3,605 buying orders involving 17.2 billion dollars of foreign capital
(equalling 10.5% of total foreign investment during the same time), the
result were 80% key-ready installations全套设备, 17% single items 单项设
备 and real technology imports what the program was designed for were
only 3%
190:in 1985,one ton of coal (or its energy equivalent)could produce x
tons of raw material y
y x (China) x (Industrialized Countries)
Steal 0.025 0.102-0.222
Wheat 0.064 0.378-0.490
Cotton 0.006 0.030-0.046
Sugar 0.014 0.031-0.035
Food Oil 0.009 0.057(Great Britain)
Meat 0.010 0.042-0.062
Electricity 275kWh 1037-1629kWh
254:grasslands were deteriorating in 15% of the country in the 70s,
it' s up to 30% in the 80s;desertification 1560km2 p.a.
256:(cf. China Science and Technology Journal 中国科机报, 1985( 1) ) if
forest destruction continues, the Western Sichuan woods will have
disappeared within 13 years, in the upper region of the Min River 岷江
the forest coverage rate was 30% in the 50s and fell to 15% in the 80s.
The forest coverage rate of Sichuan fell from 20% in the 50s to 13% in
the 80s.
257:inflated forestry offices: the Luhuo 炉霍 Forestry Department in
Gansun甘孙District (Sichuan Province) has over 2,500 employees, they
can grow 70,000 m3 wood, but have to log 120,000 m3 of wood in order to
nourish their payrolls. This xian has 1,080, 000 Mu wood which is 2
million m3. Within 20 years they will have cut it empty. Besides, not
counted are the 900 million pounds of wood the 770, 000 people of the
Gansu district use as annual firewood. Plaese note that the major
species are firs and spruces which need 80-120 years before they are
ready to be cut again.
351:since the 50s at the People's University in Beijing teaching
personnel increased by 4 times, whereas administration personnel
increased by 10 times
367:education is 2% of GNP;university teacer-pupil ralation (1:4.3;USA 1