Local Residents Concerned with Safety of Sichuan Nuclear Facilities

By Wen Cheng, Epoch Times Staff
May 27, 2008 12:00 am Last Updated: May 27, 2008 12:00 am

In the wake of the major earthquake in Sichuan Province earlier this month, concern over possible leakage problems with China's nuclear facilities within the provincial area has drawn worldwide attention.

Though Chinese authorities have continued to assert that no such danger exists, the Chinese population at large has long lost confidence in such official statements. They worry that the nuclear leakage “rumor” may not be unfounded.

Acting chairman of the China New Democracy Party (CNDP) Guo Quan published a report entitled “The CNDP Calls on Chinese authorities to Immediately Publicize the Safety of Nuclear Facilities in Sichuan.” Guo's article enumerated the casualties of experiments in nuclear power engineering research in Sichuan and called on the Chinese communist regime to immediately launch an extensive radioactive examination over all nuclear facilities across the provincial and peripheral areas. While walking his child home from school three days after his report was released, Guo was arrested on the street.

However, China's General Office of the Ministry of Environmental Protection on May 21 issued a notice announcing that it would hold a hearing about the regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials in Beijing on May 28.

Local Residents Extremely Worried

Zhang, a resident of Mianyang City in Sichuan, said that it was widely rumored that the leakage of radioactive substances had occurred in his town. Locals are very worried as they know that there are many nuclear arsenals and research facilities in Mianyang.

Zhang also said that after the earthquake, the troops stationed in his area had never been mobilized to help with the rescue effort. Instead, rescue operations were handled by soldiers dispatched from other parts of the country. Some local soldiers revealed that they were absolutely prohibited from leaving their post, even to return home.

“Xiaoba Township is located at the epicenter of the quake, and a huge number of these residents have been devastated by this disaster. However, no troop, or even a single soldier was sent there, explained Zhang. “It is a very strange phenomenon, as there are many military bases in Mianyang.” Why couldn't the Chinese authorities offer soldiers to these hard-hit areas? Zhang believes that the authorities are intent on protecting their so-called “military bases.”

“As a result, whatever the authorities said or the official statements that are released, locals are not inclined to believe them. Particularly if it has something to do about a serious disaster like this earthquake,” added Zhang. “Official newspapers have repeatedly attempted to clarify this matter, as they continue to state that talk of radioactive leaks is nothing but rumors. However, locals have been inclined to believe these rumors.

“It is not surprising to hear it [official denials of nuclear leakage],” exclaims Zhang. “The Chinese people are used to it, as they have heard many official denials like this. They have taken the authorities' false assumption for granted. The mentality of these governmental officials is concerned solely with maintaining stability. In reality they would not care about a large death toll, so long as they are not the victims themselves. After all, China has a huge population.”

“To my understanding, the casualties at some places in this region have not been reported whatsoever,” said Zhang in reference to the regime's official death toll brought by the recent earthquake.

“Take Meishan for instance. In many parts of town, the situation has not been covered at all. Though there have been some coverage of casualties in the hardest-hit areas, the death toll is still not certain. In Beichuan County, it is more likely that the entire county has been destroyed. Nobody really knows how many people died in its many townships.”