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former mine worker, sun xiaodi speaks out about uranium mine, ganzu no. 792

"I, myself, am in constant uncertainty with my own life, and because of this I am desperate to get the truth out to the world and out to the authorities."
Sun Xiaodi

Feng CondeFeng Congde Tells Sun Xiaodi's Story
Sun Xiaodi has been detained since April 28, 2005. His whereabouts were unknown for eight months from the time of his abduction by plainclothed police. It’s really hard to get his photos, get any connection with him because he’s under strict surveillance by the police. His current status, in detention in 2005. He was abducted by plainclothes police upon his release from the Lanzhou prison at the end of last year. No charges were filed against him. This year he’s under strict surveillance by the Gansu Public Security Bureau, which was placed a monitoring booth in front of his home. He is not allowed to leave home and receive phone calls even while conducting basic business such as visiting the doctor, going shopping or responding to police summons. He’s closely watched by police. His home has become a jail.

The authorities are taking measures to prevent people from meeting Sun. Journalists who attempt to interview him were blocked and refused by the police. Sun Xiaodi was a former employee of the Ganzu No. 792 Uranium mine. He was secretly abducted by plainclothes policemen on April 28, 2005, on his way home after being interviewed by French journalists. That happened in Beijing during his petition for the nuclear pollution.

The interview was about his petition in Beijing, which claimed that there was serious environmental contamination from the mine. His whereabouts were unknown for eight months until he was suddenly released from Najiu prison on December 27, 2005. Gansu police announced immediately after his release that Sun would remain under house arrest. His so-called house arrest is a very strange one also. Sun received a notice from Gansu Public Security Bureau that his house arrest ended on March 27, 2006, but the local police warned that he should not leave his village.

Sun sent off for Beijing on March 29th with the intention of petitioning the central government once again about the problem of the environmental contamination from the No. 792 uranium mine. Sun delivered his petition, then went some days later to Shenyang, Liaoning province in April 1, 2005, to visit a former village head of Zhangliangbao Village who had just been released from more than a month in detention after petitioning the central government over corruption in the local government. He was sent back several days later.

He is under strict surveillance. Although No. 792 uranium mine has become a private enterprise and has changed its name to Longjiang Nuclear Limited, it remains under the administration of the Gansu province government and ministry of nuclear industry.

Many local officials have become shareholders of that company and it has refused to change the method of production and to clean up the nuclear contamination. They prefer to expel former employees and recruit new ones who do not have the background information. The company is planning to expand production, which means for the nuclear contamination and proliferation.

Recently the local government colluded with the company owner in making the area around the mine uninhabitable by cutting off water and electricity and water supply to drive off former employees away from the mine.

The No. 792 uranium mine is in Ganzu province, a Tibetan autonomous county, a former Tibetan area. The source (Bailong River, tributary of the Yangtze River) of the Yangtze River, the biggest river in China, so all the Yangtze River is polluted in consenquence.

The uranium mine in China called Mine 792 is part of the country’s wide scandal. The mine owners and the government of China collaborated to bleed the mine for millions upon millions of dollars that are going directly to owners and government officials involved. They first declared a fake state of bankruptcy to initiate making all official staff redundant. They then hired young men and women from nearby village to work the mine, completely untrained and totally naïve to what effects direct contact with nuclear materials can cause.

These workers have no safety structures set up for them. At the same time, they believe they are merely picking up, digging up rocks. Many are eating and resting on the pipes that are contaminated with nuclear radiation, and many have set up their beds in the caves they are excavating. They are also directly dumping the waste of the mine in the Bailong River which serves well over a million people living at its banks. This river leads into the Yangtze River.

Sun Xiaodi
It is clear we need to take immediate action against these crimes. It is affecting literally millions and millions of our citizens. The radioactive equipment that they were using is now being sold to local people statewide. A former staff member eye witnessed them extracting the uranium ore and then selling the polluted pipes to people in Diebu County as scrap metal of all things. This is radioactive equipment. These are things that are laden with radioactive nuclear waste.

The mine declared its bankruptcy in September 2003 yet it did not shut down, nor was it or is it truly in a state of bankruptcy. All they did was change it from a military name to a civilian name and then continued extraction. Two days ago some of us waited at a known dumping site of the river, waited there until 1:00 AM to collect an on the spot sample of what is being dumped into our river. This is ironclad proof. We have the evidence in hand.

What is the physical and psychological harm that the nuclear pollution has been causing within the local population.

Sun Xiaodi
To tell you the truth, just within our region the habitual abortions, bizarre fetuses, or the babies born blind or disfigured are a great, great many. Even when I was working in the plant, I was always at the point of quitting because the situation there was so terrible, that it was very difficult to bear. My wife was working in the pollution process part of the plant. I asked her one day, what was going on in there. She told me that the pollution material is actually being dumped into the river, and they are even instructed that the residents of the town nearby are in bed when they do it. Now that we have ironclad proof, who can we go to? From the central government to the local authorities, they all bow down to the gold. They live luxurious lives on fancy hotels and have no regard seemingly for truth or justice. The local people are disgusted at them and have no faith in them. I, myself, am in constant uncertainty with my own life, and because of this I am desperate to get the truth out to the world and out to the authorities.

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"We’re here to talk about what we can do to save the world from nuclear proliferation. Our world, we’ve come to find out, is very small. It’s not as big as we once thought. It is an almost impossible task to save the world from nuclear proliferation, but in my way of life, the Diné way of life, we believe that there are no impossibilities. Although it seems like there are only a handful of us here trying to make a stand against nuclear proliferation, the task is not impossible. It all starts when we come together from all corners of the world, like we are doing here this week. We can start by coming to the realization that we are all on the same side. We are all members of the five-fingered intelligent earth dwellers called homosapiens, human beings. It doesn’t matter the color, the creed. We’re all earth dwellers here, in this world."
—The Honorable Joe Shirley, Jr.
President of the Navajo Nation
Address to the Indigenous World Uranium Summit, November 30, 2006

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