“Look at all these dead fish on the shore,” she says, “and here, the canal turned red.” Wei has charted the build up of toxic pollution for decades. In 2002 she had her own cancer scare, she says, when a tumor was removed. It was benign, she says.
She has complained, petitioned, and become a thorn in the local government’s side. She says she has been harassed and threatened for her activism. Even on the day of our interview, what we believe is a state security officer took surreptitious photographs of us talking. She said they came to ask questions when we left.
She takes us on a walking tour past dyeing factories, textile mills, and weaving plants. “This factory just took ‘chemical’ off their name when we complained,” she says. “We picketed outside this one recently.” Security guards look nervously through the gate. “They know me well,” she says.
“All I wish for is to breath clean air, drink safe water and use uncontaminated soil. That’s all I ask for, but I guess that is just too much to ask.”