Chinese environmentalist offers $32k to local EPA-type chief to swim in polluted river

Being an environmentalist in China can’t be easy – possibly even bad for your health – so more power to Jin Zengmin for having both the courage to propose action, and putting his money where his mouth is.

His public shaming of the environmental agency may not have endeared him to the political machine, but he’s probably going to please some of the locals who have to live with the stinking, garbage-infested river.

South China Morning Post:

A Zhejiang entrepreneur is offering a 200,000 yuan [~$32,000] reward to a senior official if he swims in a polluted river for 20 minutes, as part of an attempt to draw attention to the environmental plight in China’s eastern province.

Polluted river in China

Polluted river in China

Jin Zengmin, chief executive of a Hangzhou eyeglasses retailer, announced the reward on China’s Twitter-like social website on Saturday.

“If the environmental protection bureau chief dares to swim in [Ruian’s] river for 20 minutes, I will pay [him] 200,000 yuan [HK$246,000],” Jin wrote on Sina Weibo.

In three photos Jin posted, a river in small-town Ruian is seen entirely blocked by floating rubbish. Jin blamed a rubber overshoe factory for dumping industrial waste into the river.

This river was where villagers used to wash vegetables and clothes in his childhood, Jin told

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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