An eight-year-old girl has become the mainland's youngest lung cancer patient, with her illness blamed directly on environment factors.
The girl from Jiangsu lived by a busy road where she inhaled all kinds of dust and particles. These included superfine PM2.5 particles, less than 2.5 microns wide, that are considered the most dangerous component of smog.
The country's breakneck urbanisation and industrialisation has created some of the world's worst urban pollution, which is blamed for soaring rates of cancer and respiratory diseases.
In Beijing, which has suffered frequent, severe smog in recent years, deaths from lung cancer rose by 56 per cent from 2001 to 2010. A fifth of all cancer patients suffer lung cancer. It became the leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the capital and the second-biggest among women, after breast cancer, in 2010.
The World Health Organisation's "2010 Global Burden of Disease" study found that air pollution accounted for 1.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2010, including 140,000 deaths from lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Asia.
China had about 20 per cent of the world's recently diagnosed cancer patients, and that cancers of the lung, liver, stomach, oesophagus, colon, cervix, breast and nasopharynx were responsible for 80 per cent of cancer deaths in the country.