Ground Sinking in Many Chinese Villages; Government Officials Covering Up Crisis

August 9, 2008 1:31 pm Last Updated: August 23, 2008 10:07 am

Farm fields, fish ponds, and highways are sinking dramatically in Nafu Town on a large scale—houses are collapsing as well. (The Epoch Times)
Farm fields, fish ponds, and highways are sinking dramatically in Nafu Town on a large scale—houses are collapsing as well. (The Epoch Times)
In a section of Taishan City, Guangdong Province, called Nafu Town, around 10,000 Chinese in several villages are in a state of panic. Hundreds of homes, a wide range of farm fields, fish ponds, and sections of highways have sank into the ground. The sinkholes are so destructive that houses have collapsed, causing residents to leave their homes.

As the sunken area continues to spread, local governments have been covering up the situation, according to locals. They have failed to report this to higher government agencies and have even forcibly stopped or have captured villagers who have tried to report the issue.

Villages hit hardest by the problem in Nafu Town include: Bajiao Village, Weizai Village, Changbian Village, Shachao Village, Hengdun Village, Anming Village, and Laoye Village, among others.

Mr. Bai from Bajiao Village said, “More and more villages are sinking. The earth is sinking into the ground drastically and it is spreading. The highways also have massive potholes. This started in July and sections of highway stretching for miles sank. We are now living in tents. Those who have not been given tents are living in houses with deep cracks in the foundations and could collapse. We are all very worried.”

According to villagers, about five years ago, the local government outsourced a quarry to private owners. The now deserted quarry is over 16 acres wide and is 60 yards deep in some areas. There were nine water pumps constantly pumping water into the quarry. The pit was too deep and the mining operations caused dramatic changes in the water table, causing the earth to sink. The quarry is no longer in operation due to excess leakage of underground water.

Mr. Bai said, “It is quite serious. Now there are houses sinking and a lot of them are no longer occupied. Over a hundred houses have collapsed. All the ponds in the village have been drained empty. Where else can we go? We have nothing — no cash or anything. Only when the situation turned disastrous did we receive some tents. But even those aren't enough”

On July 29, local villagers went to the cities of Jiangmen and Taishan to appeal to higher government agencies, but were intercepted by local police officers.

Mr. Bai said, “At first we were not provided tents. We started receiving tents only after our attempt to appeal. We have lived in tents by the highway for two weeks. We are waiting for the government to solve the issue, but have heard nothing from them yet.”

Villagers living in emergency tents (The Epoch Times)
Villagers living in emergency tents (The Epoch Times)
An Epoch Times reporter called the Shenjing Town government in Taishan City inquiring into the issue and a male staff member replied that the situation is still under investigation. There were no government officials available to give an answer directly.

According to the villagers, the situation is extremely dangerous. One villager was on his way to the fields, and a piece of ground suddenly collapsed beneath him, causing him and his ox to fall into the pit. It took a dozen neighbors to rescue him. A tractor fell into a large pothole as well. Hundreds of villagers were called in to pull the tractor out.

Villagers have filed complaints that over twenty villages have sunk or are sagging into the ground.

Mr. Bai said, “A large number of farm fields cannot be plowed. Each village has large cracks in the ground. Some fields have sunken about a hundred feet. Our village is the worst—we cannot live in it. Over 60 homes have sustained serious damage. As for the other families… well, it is only a matter of time before they sink in. In other villages, over a hundred houses sunk into the ground. People living near the fish ponds have suffered the most financial loses.”

Villagers hope that they will receive help and attention from people outside their area. They expressed concerns that the ground might completely collapse around the village, causing massive damages to property and perhaps even people's lives. According to locals, the regional officials have covered up the situation and are preventing villagers to go to Beijing to file an appeal. According to villagers, many used their life savings to build their houses. Now their houses have collapsed and there is little left for them to do.

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