Chinese Birth Defects Number Around 900,000 Cases Annually

By Li Yun
Li Yun
Li Yun
September 19, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Huang Zhuoxiang, who suffers from cerebral palsy
Huang Xiangyi (L) encourages his seven year-old son Huang Zhuoxiang, who suffers from cerebral palsy, to walk on Oct. 26, 2009 in China. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

China is a country with a “high birth defects rate,” declared the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sept. 12, China’s “Birth Defects Prevention Day.”

Each year, approximately 900,000 birth defect cases occur in about 5.6 percent of the newborns, constituting the second leading cause of infant deaths in China, according to the Ministry of Health.

Analysts say the issue is connected with increases in environmental pollution and unsafe foods. Knowledgeable doctors and commentators say the Chinese regime is now rife with regulatory deficiencies and collective corruption, and therefore turns a blind eye to the social problems that jeopardize public health.

The Ministry of Health report cites a World Health Organization estimate, asserting that China’s birth defects rate is close to average for middle-income countries at about 5.6 percent, However, a closer analysis reveals that in 2011, birth defects rose to second place as the cause of infant fatalities at 19.1 percent, which was up from fourth place in 2000.

Rising Birth Defects

The report stressed that “birth defect diseases vary and have a complex etiology, and some effective interventions have not yet been widely implemented.”

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, birth defects occur before a baby is born. Most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancy, when the baby’s organs are forming and are thought to be caused by a complex mixture of factors relating to genetics and the environment.

In China, a baby is born with birth defects about every 30 seconds, accounting for about 20 percent of the world’s birth defects each year.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that Dr. Hu Zongyi, a scientist with the U.S. National Institute of Health, said the impact of environmental pollution on babies’ health really cannot be ignored, but its extent still remains to be verified with further studies.

“Intuition tells me that a severely polluted environment and drug abuse are problems in China; the problems in tainted milk powder, pork, and environmental pollution are serious,” Hu said. “However, from a scientific perspective, the extent of the effects on birth defects still awaits further studies.”

Liao Can, deputy director of the Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center said that it’s a misconception to attribute food quality as the main factor behind birth defects, according to a RFA report in early March.

She believes that the rise of China’s birth defect rate is mainly due to the continuous improvement of technology, so that more abnormal embryos are detected.

In an interview with New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television, Dr. Tan Wei says the defects are due to growing environmental pollution and widespread toxic foods.

“One factor is harmful influences such as water pollution, excessive industrialization, excessive mining of iron ore and coal, as well as transgenic food, which hasn’t been put under strict official control,” Tan said. “Another factor is interior home decorating materials. If this material is substandard and contains excessive formaldehyde or sodium phenolate that can also cause birth defects.”

A Chinese environmentalist, Qin Qiang, points out that water pollution should not be ignored. All these are man-made pollutants, Qin Qiang told NTD.

“The wastes discharged from those fertilizer plants and paper mills in big cities have never been treated,” Qin said. “This water contains lead, aluminum, and disinfectants, all of which can lead to cancer. Aside from the waste water, food also plays a part.”

Food Safety

A popular folk song shows how prevalent toxic food is:

“We eat paraffin oil-polished rice;
we eat pesticide-soaked hams;
we eat salted duck eggs and pepper sauces prettified with oil-soluble dyes;
hot-pot vegetables are preserved with formalin to keep them fresh;
tremella mushrooms and preserved dates are fumigated with sulfur to look bright;
dried edible fungi are infused with copper sulfate to gain weight;
and to baby milk powder they’ve added melamine to raise the protein.”

Qin Qiang says the public’s criticism of food safety has flooded websites. In contrast, communist officials have access to special food supplies, and thus do not care about food safety, Qin said.

“Vegetables with excessive pesticide or contaminated water may not harm people immediately. But they will give rise to long-term health risks,” Qin said. “The authorities haven’t given enough consideration to this aspect, nor have the average citizens. So all this leads to the problem of birth defects.”

The CCP’s political system is the root cause of this issue, Dr. Tan Wei concludes. Since the regime’s regulatory agencies are subject to collective corruption and the pursuit of money, it is no surprise that hardly any attention is given to social problems that endanger public health.

Original Chinese reports: [1] [2]

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Li Yun
Li Yun