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Hospitalized Victims of Japanese Chemical Weapons Rise to 35

The number of people hospitalized after exposure to the mustard gas from chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese troops in northeast China in World War II rose to 35 by Monday afternoon.

Feng Jiayuan, an 11-year-old school girl at the No. 2 Heping Primary School in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province, was sent to the No. 203 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army in the city Monday afternoon.

Feng walked past a plot of land tainted by chemical weapons on August 4. Her feet blistered the following day and she was later confirmed a victim of the mustard gas poisoning and transferred to the army hospital Monday afternoon.

Five metal barrels were dug out at a construction site in Qiqihar on August 4. One was accidentally broken on the spot and an oil-like material leaked out and infiltrated the soil. The drums were bought by two itinerant workers, who broke another two of the containers, causing more leakage.

Chemical weapon experts later confirmed the material as mustard gas, and that the barrels were chemical weapons left by the Japanese army during World War II.

Local anti-chemical warfare soldiers disinfected all 11 polluted sites, sealed up all the contaminated soil and transported it to the warehouse with the abandoned chemical weapons.

The city lifted quarantine on the 11 polluted sites on Monday morning and local life has returned to normal.

(People's Daily   Aug 12, 2003)

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