Rare Earth Experts Embarrassed in Malaysia
Rare earth pollution is very severe in mainland China.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sponsored a trip
for three rare earth and radiation prevention experts to
to host three Rare Earth Cognition Briefings in Malaysia.
After being bombarded with questions by Malaysian people,
the three “experts” left the meeting totally embarrassed.
From August 3 to 5, three Rare Earth Cognition Briefings
were held in Kuantan, Malaysia, at the Thean Hou Temple.
The three Chinese experts constantly emphasized that
the radiation emitted by rare earth waste products
is within the normal range and
it cannot cause acute radiation sickness.
The public questioned their findings
with regards to the risk of cell mutation and cancer.
Unscientific answers were provided by the Chinese “experts”
thus putting them on the hot seat.
Local media reported that the Save Malaysia Committee
V.P. Dr. Pan questioned one Chinese experts, Xia Yihua,
whether he had a medical background.
Because from a medical point of view,
internal radiation has never been considered safe.
Dr. Pan was suspect of the Chinese experts’ data,
saying that no medical evidence existed to support their claims.
Pan called for a future debate with more detailed medical data.
Youth Section of Hainan Association secretary, Fang,
questioned one of the Chinese experts, Zhao Yamin,
whether he has a Ph.D. or chemistry engineering background.
Zhao admitted that he does not have a Ph.D. degree but
refused to say whether he had such a background.
One of the organizers for the event, the president of the
Kuantan Hakka Association, was surrounded by
50 anti-rare-earth protestors outside the hotel.
Event organizers strictly controlled access to the last briefing.
Nanyang Siang Pau revealed that the event organizers
only subsidized the lodging and travelling expenses
for the Chinese experts, as the rest was paid by the CCP.
Australian rare earth giant, Lynas, obtained a permit in 2008
to build the world’s largest rare earth refinery in Pahang,
Malaysia, in Gebeng Industrial Zone.
The project was strongly opposed due the public’s concerns
about radiation from rare earth waste,
However, the project is nearly completed
and will start operations in September.
Malaysians now criticize the CCP “experts” on Facebook.
The three organizers were also criticized.
Some netizens questioned, “If you want to discuss
the pro and cons of rare earth refineries,
why not talk about the briefings’ contents?
The presenters didn’t even want to talk about the risks
that the refinery would have on people’s health.
They only talk about safety issues,
or they were uncertain about things.”
“Rare earth pollution in mainland China is at an all-time high.
What right do they have to tell Malaysians
that rare earth pollution is not a problem?”
Rare earth expert, Dr. Chen Zhanheng from the
Academic Department of the Chinese Society of Rare Earths,
directly pointed out that
rare earth mining needs to focus on the environment.
But China’s environmental protection agency
is under the constraints of the local government,
which protects the corporations for their tax revenues.
Dr. Chen said, “Mainland China went through
rapid industrialization over the past 30 years,
with local governments ignoring environmental problems.
Only focusing on economic development, increasing taxes,
and promoting employment, will not work.
Radiation pollution needs much more attention from the CCP.
People are dying from radiation-induced cancer in Baotou.”
Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, is rich in rare earth deposits,
thus rare earth pollution.
This has caused a hike in cancer patients in surrounding towns.
And because the government provides minimal
medical compensation and no relocation compensation,
villagers from five villages refuse to move,
in order to not lose their living hood.
In the Malaysia briefing, an audience member asked
the three Chinese experts about
the environmental impact rare earth mining
has had on Baotou City.
The three experts, who claimed to be from Inner Mongolia,
provided very vague answers.
Director Chao Ning of the Ministry of Commerce’s
Foreign Trade Division said that
China is not the only country that has rare earth.
However, over the past 10 years, China has become
the world’s main exporter of rare earths,
at the cost of destroying the environment and
depleting its own natural resources.
Rare earth contains uranium, and thorium and
the refining process produces sulphuric acid as a by-product.
According to the law, these by-products must be stored
in a radioactive waste storehouse.
Corporation need to pay 300 RMB (US$45.00) per ton
to store these wastes.
Many Chinese corporations irresponsibly dispose
of the radioactive waste, in order to avoid the extra cost.
There is no corporation in China that recycles thorium,
as they would lose money by doing so.
Experts pointed out that state-owned rare earth corporations
recycle over 60 percent of the rare earths they produce,
while private companies recycle less than 40 percent
and foreign companies recycle about 80 percent.
NTD reporters Wu Wei and Xiao Yu