China admits existence of 'cancer villages'

Authorities in China have admitted the existence of 247 so-called "cancer villages".

The locations all suffer atypically high rates of cancer thanks to huge amounts of pollution.

One such village is pictured above, and is situated in Minkou county, Leping city in the Jiangxi province of China.

A 'cancer village' in Minkou county, Leping city, Jiangxi provinceImaginechina, Rex Features

The first public knowledge of the villages came in the form of a map circulated online, which showed the whereabouts of the 247 sites.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection subsequently admitted the existence of such villages, but said pollution was to blame for high cancer rates among residents.

The map was said to have been drawn up by a Chinese university student after research into data and media reports.

Although such villages are found in around 27 regions, many of them are located in central Henan and eastern Jiangsu provinces.