We saw these slogans while taking a walk on the morning that we left Changkou.
Leo Tolstoy wrote these famous words in his novel, Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same can be said of unhappy places.
Gansu is not just dry and its soil poor. In some economically and culturally backward border regions and remote mountainous districts in China, congenital deformity and intellectual retardation are as high as 1 to 2 percent. A study by Lanzhou Medical College found the overall rate of birth defects in Gansu to be 1.54 percent, one of the highest in China. This situation is closely related to marriage between close relatives. In a study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on some of the minorities in Gansu and Ningxia, the rate of such marriages was found to be as high as 10 percent.
Other possible reasons for congenital defects are thought to be serious air and water pollution, increasing use of pesticides and other chemicals, ingestion of certain antibiotics and other medicines in early pregnancy.