Go to China and see a blood-red river


Just like it says in the Bible, rivers in China have been turning the colour of blood. One of the signs of the impending end of the world is detailed in Revelation 16:4: “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.” Most recently, this occurred in the Jian River in the east of China.

Early one day, residents noticed an ungodly smell around the river. All was in order around 5am, however, under an hour later, they had a blood-red river on their hands. Investigators working for the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau were initially unable to determine the cause, but suspected artificial colourant had been dumped in the water. Jianfeng Xiao, the head of the Bureau, told China News that it had been anticipated that a typhoon would lead to heavy rain, so perhaps the guilty party believed noone would notice, but things didn’t go that way: “It turned out there wasn’t heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind.”

The Jian is often a blood-red river due to the dumping of industrial waste and domestic rubbish. This happened in 2011, and didn’t signal the literal end of the world. It was thanks to a chemical plant that made red dye for firework wrappers. Fireworks are much in demand at the time of the Chinese New Year. Workers rinsed a batch of red plastic bags for recycling and didn’t foresee the consequences. The river has sometimes turned dark green.

Other rivers have been similarly affected. In September 2012, the Yangtze river, the longest in the country and the third-longest in the world, turned the colour of tomato juice at several points, only one of which was near Chongqing, the largest industrial centre in southwest China. Again, industrial pollutants were thought responsible for this affront to what is known as “the golden waterway.” Some residents filled bottles with the water for posterity. Fishermen and others who depended upon the river for income continued to go about their business. The dye wasn’t toxic.

As for the blood-red river Jian, there was an upside. One villager posted to Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, that it was possible to catch fish because the water is usually so clear.

About the Author Timothy Chilman

Timothy Chilman used to work in IT. Once, in Sydney, he was turned down for a job because he was “too flamboyant” (“Someone who wears green tartan suspenders to a job interview probably isn’t going to fit in here”). Timothy then became an English teacher. University students in Bangkok complained that he was “too enthusiastic” and company students in Prague complained that he was “too theatrical.”

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