‘Rainbow River’: Unused Medicine Capsules Dumped in Henan Ditch

A ditch in Zhengzhou, Hunan has become a 'rainbow river' after someone illegally dumped thousands of empty medicine capsules into the water.

From NetEase:

Large Quantity of Empty Medicine Capsules Dumped Into Zhengzhou Sewer, Transforming it Into “Rainbow River.”

April 21st, in an open sewer ditch on Zhengshang Road in Zhengzhou, a large quantity of empty medicine capsules appeared overnight, turning 300 meters of the ditch into a “rainbow river”. Some of the capsules have already been washed downstream, dying the river blue-green. Nearby residents stated there isn’t a pharmaceutical factory nearby, so perhaps the capsules were secretly manufactured in an illegal small workshop.

Yesterday afternoon, village director Sun Baozhou in a telephone interview said he wasn’t aware of the capsules discovered in the ditch, though confirmed there is no pharmaceutical factory nearby. He said that previously there was a small pharmaceutical workshop in the village, which was dealt with months ago, and in light of the present situation might be again secretly producing capsules. “We will again investigate the village to see whether this kind of workshop exists, and if we find it, we will immediately take care of it.” At the local police station, in the Police Affairs Office, officer Miao Yunzhan was also unaware of the capsule situation.

Reporters note: at the village entrance a 360 degree webcam is installed, as for whether it is operational or not, Miao Yunzhan and Sun Baozhou both were not able to clearly say.

A ditch in Zhengzhou, Hunan has become a 'rainbow river' after someone illegally dumped thousands of empty medicine capsules into the water.

A ditch in Zhengzhou, Hunan has become a 'rainbow river' after someone illegally dumped thousands of empty medicine capsules into the water.

Comments from NetEase:

呆球球走资派 [网易江苏省南京市网友]:

If you agree we should stuff these in the mouth of every wumao, raise your hand!

徐州人民欢迎你 [网易江苏省徐州市网友]:

Unscrupulous Businessman: “Government leader, with people making such a big fuss right now, what should I do with all of this fake medicine?”

Government leader: “Right now the situation is tight, better quickly get rid of this stuff or else even I won’t be able to help you.”

And so you have this scene.

爷的心思你不懂 [网易北京市网友]:

Counterfeiters really are repulsive, not only Henan, but the entire country is doing this kind of immoral thing.

赖子 [网易广东省韶关市网友]:

Didn’t they say whoever polluted is whoever should clean it up? Let them dredge it all up and eat it.

阿童木48694810 [网易黑龙江省双鸭山市网友]:

Do we still not know who dumped this? And they’re not being punished? What a tragedy.

红红的一瞥 [网易河北省廊坊市网友]:

The industries that can make you rich have all been monopolized, many people have no choice but to engage in this type of business, this isn’t the first time nor the last. So sad!


With the water having been polluted, how could our bodies not be “polluted”? Let these manufacturing industries eat shit, let them have a taste of “pollution”.

彼比 [网易广东省深圳市网友] (responding to above):

Let me say again, the manufacturing industry isn’t the main problem, the weakness of our regulatory bodies is the main problem. Please everyone rationally approach this problem, don’t let certain people distract you with contradictions.

流星划过的伤 [网易江苏省南京市手机网友]:

What else remains that can incite the passion of Chinese? Gutter oil? Poisoned milk powder? Poisoned medicine capsules? Poisoned yogurt? Poisoned gelatin?

滑衫轮贱 [网易广西南宁市网友]:

Just from eating this, your back won’t be sore, your leg’s won’t pain you, and you can last all night in bed!!!


Fucking Henan people again

流氓小亨 [网易四川省成都市网友]:

Chinese people don’t know how to protect the environment, don’t understand how to recycle. Take these to a leather factory to process and you can make many pairs of leather shoes to wear! [Note: This post is referencing an earlier news story that uncovered scrap leather being used to make medicine capsules]

A Henan ditch is filled with millions of illegally dumped but colorful empty medicine capsules.A Henan ditch is filled with millions of illegally dumped but colorful empty medicine capsules.

READ  Chinese Government Official Smiling at Tragic Accident Scene

Written by Joel

Joel is a reclusive writer based in Shanghai who took up blogging as a hobby one summer and never looked back. Former editor of Shanghaiist.

  • MrT

    At least it never entered the food chain….

    • MrT

      ah looks like i can pop a pill in peace on my multi colored sofa!

      • mr. wiener

        I miss good drugs. Damn why can’t I live downstream from a decent LSD factory or a dope plantation?
        Answer: LSD ain’t water soluable and Chinese don’t do don’t do dope. At best it would be a nasty crystal meth or MMD lab. I’m getting old. I don’t like the recreational drugs people do these days:(

  • Mop

    Oh pretty~!

    • waihang

      Yeah pretty, in best case it’s just a colorful spectacle.

      I just wonder in this case if it’s any big problem at all, because if the capsules were empty also before being dumped it’s no real risk involved as capsules used to be made of starch, cellulose or animal protein and is very harmless in itself so let’s hope these capsules were clean and empty ones.

      Inspecting the pictures the capsule halves looks like all being disengaged from each other with no traces of the powder or pellets they used to be filled up with.

      I am just thinking if some rogue business company screwed up something, they wouldn’t take the time to empty millions of small capsules, there is no equipment for that, the encapsulation machines can only engage the capsule halves, but not disengage.

      • grovesman

        They were likely unused capsules that had to be dumped (to avoid detection/incarceration) after the news report.

  • Dr Hung Low

    It ceases to amaze me what disregard for their own country, hell for their own backyard, that the Chinese have.

    • Dr Hung Low

      It NEVER…

    • [email protected]

      yep. me either. wife and I bought some potpourri this week on taobao. shit was dyed with coloring and perfumed with some artificial scent. Only in fucking China man

      • Joe

        Why the fuck would you buy potpourri in the first place? Ghetto and 80’s as fuck.

        • [email protected]

          Ghetto? wow. You are an idiot.

    • Bruce Tutty

      skilled at making a imitation of life

    • Bruce Tutty

      I don’t want to get up anyone’s nose, but Taiwan is a close model.

      It used to churn out rubbish, and was known for it worldwide, as China is now.

      But they realised all they were doing was making a market path, for all those that could make the goods, but at slightly better quality.

      Mind you they didn’t counterfeit anywhere near as much.

  • Andao

    How many of these were recovered by the company downstream and used again?

  • Alan

    Doesn’t look like a river but a motorway storm drain, but I could be wrong.

    Either way pretty messed up:(

    • Bobby

      “Pretty messed up.” Good one.

  • M.N

    Living in Henan,this can be expected.

  • Winterbitten

    I wonder if the person who did this actually lives there, or if they’re abiding by the philosophy of “out of sight, out of mind”.

  • Ruaraidh

    That’s quite a lot of medicine capsules, I wonder how someone managed to do this clandestinely. Or perhaps they just didn’t give a tuppenny shit if anyone had seen them.

    • cc

      I think it brightens the place up, better than all those plastic bags and other shit that gets thrown into the trees and gutters. Anyone heard about the rumor of maggots found in the gelatine capsules in on the shelf bottled medication?

      • coala banana

        its not a rumor, it was reported 2 days ago in the news ! TVS1 if i remember right ….

  • diverdude

    well, I have lived here a long time and I have never seen people of every age, gender, social status just blatantly discard whatever was in their hands at the moment just anywhere at anytime in/on the body of the Middle Kingdom. They have way much love for the MK to just throw their rubbish on her anywhere, anytime, all the time. They would never do that.

    This is probably the work of the running dogs of the decadent West or their sniveling butt-monkey’s from the land that is the Worm to MK’s Mighty Chicken !!!

    *for the learning impaired , this is what we call ‘sarcasm’.

    sar·casm   [sahr-kaz-uhm]
    harsh or bitter derision or irony.
    a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark: a review full of sarcasms.

    • Brett Hunan

      It was actually funny. Then you went and had to explain that you were pretending to be 5mao.

      In all, not funny.

      • diverdude

        to brett:

        I hated to do it, that is spell things out on a first-grader level, but I did it in the belief that, one, it needed doing, two, that it will help in the future; that is, the simpletons will not have to have sarcasm pointed out for them.
        Well, that was my intent.

        love is the drug i’m thinking of…

        • whichone

          I had no idea ironical is a word.

        • Boris

          A handful of these and Virginia will no longer be ‘plain’.

    • coala banana

      i am not surprised about this story or about the conditions of rivers and lakes. What makes me think are my rich chinese neighbors which just throw their garbage out of their windows in our nice estate, let their children make a poo right in the middle of the walkway, or throw they paper and plastic waste of ice creams or milk tea bottles right into the estates lake after they are done eating and drinking. Its a closed estate, quite well protected for chinese standards, so no one fro outside can come in uninvited. So, if not even this guys which are rich and invested a few millions in an apartment or house don’t give a shit about their OWN piece of habitat in front of their investment, then its not surprising how it looks outside.

      Regarding this story my bet is (based on my experience and knowing the chinese), that this capsule come from a legit factory. They messed up something, like usual mixed in some poisonous materials, found it out, one of their managers hired a company “specialized” in destroying hazardous waste (preferably not a company at all or one which will soon after close again, or being run by one of his relatives), charged a small fortune with fakes ass invoicing, they picked it up and brought it to a place far enough away and dumped everything in the river and kept the money they were paid for to themselves and gave their contact from the manufacturer his share!

      Chinese netizens, as usual over react and go the convenient way blaming their gov and see in every cheat a conspiracy, still pissed that they were not able to take part in the cheat and get their share. They all (well most) give as much fuck for the environment as the people which throw it into the river.

      I would like to invite everyone here to walk in my shoes for a couple of weeks (except the women part), not to mention 7 years, being confronted with cheaters and liars on a regular basis. I have many managers which leave after a short time, cause they see that they can’t fuck with me and that i can look through their mindless obvious set ups quite easy. I don’t mind if they think they must fuck up someone to earn money, no problem at all with that.

      Just last week i told my assistant to hire 5 trucks to move some equipment to the port. She hired her uncle, who rented the trucks, played the boss while loading and unloading, pretending that he is in charge and know what he is doing, while he pointed with his dirty ass fingers instructing the drivers (which also obviously never drove a truck in their lives).

      What you NEED in china is a good ACCOUNTANT, someone you pay well and with who you develop a close relation, which can check each and every expenditure being made, which will call and recheck prices and persons in charge. I have my pit bull (this is how i call her…bully), nice little cute girl, but as mean as a human can be ! She is with me for over 4 years now, no one else is over 2 years….most bellow 6 months….you catch them with their fingers in the cookie box ….fire them !

      • Comrade, I have been reading your hyperbole-shit
        for awhile now,

        You are ZB

        please gear down the race car.


        • Boris

          What you really mean is…
          Song of the article:
          ‘Drug me’
          -Dead Kennedys
          Get back to work, sluggard!

      • Alan

        So, if not even this guys which are rich and invested a few millions in an apartment or house don’t give a shit about their OWN piece of habitat in front of their investment, then its not surprising how it looks outside.

        You know your onions here.

        When I was renting a place on an enclosed estate in Guangdong, the loaded with money but not brain cells retirees (except the HK’ers who were well mannered and quiet) thought it was ok to grow vegetables on an adjacent hill outside the fence of the place, use some spare space not even belonging to them, to keep turtles, grow herbs and peppers and hang laundry.

        The problem is money does not cultivate manners. Buying an apartment to westerners means you only own the apartment. To mainlanders it means I can do whatever the hell I want and to hell with my neighbours if they don’t like my noise, redecorating, taking over of stuff, a screw you attitude basically.

        • coala banana

          decorations are my main concerns ! I know that they even remove static relevant walls in their apartments. My neighbor one floor up decorate his place for more then 6 months, they even broke though the outer wall of the building cause he wanted 2 additional windows, while the dumb ass workers broke through the outside, big pieces of concrete fell down on a couple of cars and hit a child on the shoulder. The building has 34 floors, all penthouse style, now it looks ridiculous from the outside cause his floor is the only one which has 2 more windows. Guess he is a MFer with influence, cause no one did shit, even people complained, cause they have discovered major cracks on the walls of their apartments. The cheapest one is 2 millionRMB, and they go up to 12million RMB. Thats completely out of proportion for fucking china. Live 1 year in one of this apartments, and you witness how everything falls apart slowly. There is no week without something breaking or falling apart:-). Their fucking children are annoying, screaming and yelling the whole evening, completely out of control. They all keep their fucking entrance doors open to let the air flow, instead of turning on their air cons. Each fucking holiday they set fucking fires in front of their doors in the house floor and throwing fucking uncooked pork meat in each corner thinking the ghosts will protect them cause of that and let them earn more money. The only thing i saw cause of that were more rats, mice and cockroaches.

          Guess you can take the farmer out of his village, but you can’t…..2 more months, then 88 china ! It was a great experience, but what is enough is enough !

          • Dr Hung Low

            My gf is putting pressure on me to buy a house here (Guangzhou) and I told her that there is no way I would just because of the shitty workmanship and lack of building standards. Considering these factors plus how terribly overpriced housing is here why the hell would I when for the same price I could buy a much nicer place back in my country, get a better rental return and sleep much better with the knowledge that the house isnt gonna fall apart 2 years after being built

          • coala banana

            the problem is not just the bad workmanship, and the fact that even you move into a brand new apartment, most likely you will have to redecorate the whole thing again. China is a country where EVERYONE like to cheat the next one and get a share of the cake. You provide the money to a contractor, he subcontracts to his relative, who subcontracts again to the next dumb ass, who then finds some folks from the countryside to make the actual work. The same way the CCP works BTW, no one has an idea what he is doing, they just want to earn money without knowing a thing.

      • jeffli

        “I would like to invite everyone here to walk in my shoes for a couple of weeks ”
        I could never do that! yo feet ‘r too big biatch!

        your pink romes
        and glass pumps are just too much for me babe, couldn’t you just tone it down with aqua- powder blue slip ons honey? ;-x

    • Bruce Tutty

      Primitive cultures are like this. They still believe the word is infinite, and can’t be harmed by little humans.

      Take note, you will be judged by this.

  • Alex

    wow, got to hand it to the Chinese for creating such a masterpiece! the use of waste to create art is quite innovative!

    • enough picking on chinese sins how about translating CHinese netizens’ angrier reactions to racist 14 year old white girls stuffing their used tampons down the mouths of chinese students they attacked on the subway in Sydney australia

      • Joel

        It seems that the original post has already been deleted from Weibo so it would not be easy to write a post about it. However, here is former Australian PM Kevin Rudd‘s reaction to the event on his Weibo:

        “Regarding the safety issues of Chinese study abroad students in Sydney, I accept my Weibo friends’ worries. Yesterday I spoke with the relevant police department’s chief, and expressed my concerns. According to police, 6 people have already been arrested by Sydney police and have appeared in court, the people who were robbed were two Chinese, as well as others with no connection to China. I absolutely despise racial discrimination. I believe ensuring the safety of foreign students is our most fundamental responsibility.”



      • chris

        if only we could do this to every chinese, this is what usa should do to you dirty dogs the chinese!

        • this is why i dont have sympathy for anglo white girls raped by dark skin men

          • moop

            you should have sympathy for anyone raped at all

          • coala banana

            notorious !!! is that you again ???? we know you changed your name a couple of times here…..are you now going under the name “theming” ????

            no women should be raped ! period !

            you as a women should have sympathy for ALL women and not just the ones of your black “race” !

          • mr. wiener

            My god you say some dum arse things! I honestly think you just open your mouth to change feet:(

      • Dr Hung Low

        If you want to discuss this topic, then I suggest you open up your own website, post news items such as this and then discuss till your hearts content with the other posters that frequent your site. Until then stay on the subject of this post.

        Your cooperation is most appreciated

        • Brett Hunan

          Learn to ignore the stupid.

      • Alan

        Wow and I always thought of Sydneysiders as a tolerant lot. Cronulla riots, now this, don’t look so good….

        • mr. wiener

          Depends on which suburb you’re from mate. If you want to develop a love and respect for Australia’s native inhabitants, you definitely do not want to live in Redfern.

        • [email protected]

          I know what you meant. You’d of thought by now, given the large community of Chinese in Sydney, that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen. But at the end of the day, there are some seriously nasty type yobbos in Aus. Violent, racist, fascist all the rest, and they probably just decided to attack Chinese that day. Another day it would have been Lebanese or homosexuals or elderly or whatever. Really hate that side of my country.

      • mystery_man

        Good for reversing brain drain.

  • [email protected]

    Now all those discarded maternity hospital dead babies floating in the river can have some floating river medicine to nibble on, after-which those lucky babies can float down the river on endangered dead white river dolphins.

  • mankouzanghua

    I was wondering what the hell 皮鞋 had to do with anything until I got to the explanation of the last comment…

    One of the things that makes this site so ingenious and interesting.

    • erguotouplease

      it was reported that some capcules and some kind of yogurt are both made from shoes .

      • coala banana

        heard that too (and that is just the shit they publicly announce, the real bad things most likely never make it into the news here)….but what i ask myself when i hear such thing is:

        how the hell is producing capsules from yogurt and shoes cheaper then producing it from common raw materials ? I mean i am into manufacturing, and the recycling is an expensive, time and money consuming part of it. I know chinese like to make things cheap, cheaper, more cheaper, and the same way they consume things.

        I can just explain it with all the sub contracting shit which is going on, that when things go wrong and are uncovered internally, the manufacturer doesn’t just report it and hire a professional recycling company to pick up his hazardous goods, thats toooo expensive and they don’t like to pay money for it. This kind of people always prefer to make money even out of their own misfortune, so the sell this waste to sub contractors, which then either resell it to someone else, or recycle it in a very cheap and primitive way by adding more chemicals and poison to it, after everything is chipped apart in such small pieces that it can’t be any longer recognized for what it was in the first place, this new born “raw materials” make it again back into the manufacturing process, by selling it to another company, which then again sell it back to the manufacturer. Fuck it, they could even sell it back to the original source, and the cheater got cheated…..I think thats plausible and the ONLY way, that recycling from shoes and rotten yogurt into raw materials for making capsules for medicine, can be cheaper then real raw materials and manufacturing. You just let it circle into the cycle of chinese backyard companies and wait until it comes back into the cycle of manufacturers. This is a never ending story and insolvable , at least insolvable for a country like china with so many people which want to make a buck !

        Its not a “devils circle of poverty” we are talking about here (which would be bad enough). This case has to do with the “devils circle of greed” ! which will create and add poverty into society. The irony of this circling is that the ones which are involved will most likely sooner or later suffer from it too ! But as we know, its not about being right or wrong in china, its about winning the argument and blaming the next one……thats bad for china and bad for the ones amongst them which are honest and hard working people !!!

        • Brett Hunan

          I like this side of your posts more than bickering and sex. I actually read the entirety of what you wrote.

          • mr. wiener

            Nobody ever said CB was stupid. He’s just a Lothario in touch with his inner bastard :)

      • mankouzanghua

        The yogurt bit sounds like the “cardboard baozi” rumor a few years ago.

        In terms of taste, I doubt yogurt made using old leather shoes would be much worse than regular yogurt (just my opinion)

        • coala banana

          why cardboard “rumor”? Its a fact ! Reported even in chinese TV and newspapers, more then once……

          • mankouzanghua

            So TV and newspaper stories are facts when they’re negative, but lies/conspiracies/cover-ups when they’re “harmonious”? The same news outlets later reported that the story was fabricated, so would the fabrication also be a fact?

            By your logic, the story would be simultaneously fact and not fact, which may indeed be the most appropriate stance on the issue, since there is no getting to the bottom of it and street foods need to be eaten with caution regardless of whether their ingredients include mashed up cardboard. Few would doubt that many other dubious practices are involved.

          • coala banana

            when chinese admit it and report about something negative in their own country, then yes, i would say its true ! They know pretty well that this will NOT in ANY WAY influence the common chinese not to eat any longer street food. The story i have seen on TV was about several small restaurants which were caught selling this shit. They explained how its done after they caught them, and they also showed how they did it ! Knowing what else is going in, it didn’t surprise me at all….

            so from you logic, the melamine scandal was also just propaganda ? so they can put some people in prison and prevent chinese people from buying chinese milk powder in the future, increasing the profits of HK shops selling their milk powder ?

            too much conspiracy my friend….chinese hate to loose face, and it takes long until something like the cardboard-poison shit makes it into the news, this is censored gov tv my friend !

          • mankouzanghua

            “when chinese admit it and report about something negative in their own country, then yes, i would say its true !”
            There are all types of Chinese, some of whom, I’m sure you agree, take shortcuts in their profession. That includes journalists. For someone who was supposed to do an expose on disgusting food practices of street vendors, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would make one up, which would be easier than investigating and uncovering one that is as extreme and revolting as passing off old, stewed cardboard as meat. Making up a specific story removes all the legwork and uncertainty, and you can craft one that’s perfect. True or not, that was the problem with this story; it was too perfect, struck a deep chord with people and became too famous.

            “They know pretty well that this will NOT in ANY WAY influence the common chinese not to eat any longer street food.”
            It made a lot of people pay attention, and it disgusted them, so it’s hard to imagine it didn’t have some negative effect on street vendors in aggregate. Obviously it didn’t stop most people from eating such baozi; where else could they get so much food, including “meat,” for such an astonishingly low price? (one of the factors that added believability to the story IMO).

            “so from you logic, the melamine scandal was also just propaganda ?”
            I’m not sure what milk powder has to do with anything, as there was little debate surrounding the veracity of that scandal. Why would the Chinese gov’t want people to get their milk powder from HK instead of mainland? I have no idea what the motivation would be.

            “chinese hate to loose face, and it takes long until something like the cardboard-poison shit makes it into the news, this is censored gov tv my friend !”
            Gov’t censored is irrelevant to whether this story was reported in the news, because everyone agreed that this journalist was supposed to do a story about disgusting practices in food stalls. He did it, and the story ran several different times on TV. Face-saving and gov’t control of media came into play only after the story went viral and global, which is when it was either silenced or investigated further.

            Personally I agree that the story may have been true. However, I’m really not sure that cardboard could ever be chewed up and mistaken for meat, and I’m not going to soak some cardboard in chemicals and try it. Also, parts of the video (which is still online) seems a bit fake. For example, the street vendor was asked if he eats the cardboard baozi himself (!?) and he simply replies that no, he doesn’t. That seems a bit odd — wouldn’t you expect a reaction along the lines of, FUCK NO!? So the issue of these cardboard baozi remains debatable in my opinion, and hence I stand by my use of the word “rumor.”

  • What a gay river!

  • chris

    how pathetic to be chinese? let them die on lead paint and stupidity yes men of the PCC

  • andywattbulb

    Now I know how the dolphin died. Overdose.

  • Rod

    Oh no! I have hard water stains!

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  • 平凡人

    The authorities obviously did not go through the whole process properly. After the incident happened, they should have purged the finished product, semi-finished product and raw material; find out exactly the extent of the damage and quarantine the affected products. Followed up with instructions on how to dispose them and send people to ensure insctructions are carried out accordingly. Again another slipshod and sloppy of handling issues by the authorities.
    Something everyone should think about; drug companies here requires to pass GMP before they go into production. China’s GMP requirements are very strict. One of the requirements for drug companies is to have incoming inspection for raw materials, for this case an approved/accredited lab. to test the compliance of these capsules. So if the drug companies have the necessary inspection reports from these labs, why a recall is necessary? Are we saying that these labs actually produce fake reports or the drug companies are only giving good capsules for testing? What actually happened is only a tip of the iceberg, the whole system and organization is a problem.

  • cc

    Worms found in Yoghurt as well?

  • Pingback: China: Toxic Medicine Capsules Dumped into Open Sewage · Global Voices()

  • xiaohouzi

    Typical. In China, if there is a hole, with or without water, some wumao will surly be by to fill it with rubbish of any kind. Let’s say they learned from their parents or in school not to litter and they do it anyway… they only deserve to live in a garbage dump with rats where they belong!

  • mouse

    Aren’t these supposed to dissolve in water?