Chinese officials bow to protests against factory

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

A 30-year-old woman surnamed Wang said officers took her to a police station Saturday and made her sign a guarantee that she would not participate in any more protests, but she came back Sunday anyway.

“They won’t even let us sing the national anthem,” Ms. Wang said. “They kept asking me who the leader of the protests was, and I said that this is all voluntary. We have no leader.”

In a sign that censors were at work, the name “Zhenhai” — the city district where the factory is located — was blocked on China‘s popular microblogging site Sina Weibo, and searches for “chemical expansion project” were greeted with the line that “Some search results are not shown according to regulations.”

Protester Yu Yibing said he wanted the factory to be closed and his 7-year-old son to grow up in a clean environment.

“As the common people, we need to live in a green environment. This is a reasonable request,” Mr. Yu said. “But the government only puts out some statement and refuses to see us and also suppresses us. I don’t know how else we can express our views.”

The Zhenhai district government, which comes under the Ningbo government, said Ningbo’s Communist Party chief, Wang Huizhong, and mayor, Liu Qi, had held discussions with local residents Saturday night.

It said in a short statement on its website Sunday evening that the project wouldn’t go ahead and that refining at the factory would stop for the time being while a scientific review is conducted.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the planned project was designed to produce 15 million tons of refined oil and 1.2 million tons of ethylene per year and belongs to Sinopec Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Co., which has invested 55.87 billion yuan ($8.9 billion).

Calls to Zhenhai police and the propaganda department of Ningbo police rang unanswered Sunday.

Past environmental protests have targeted a waste-water pipeline in eastern China and a copper plant in west-central China. A week ago, hundreds protested for several days in a small town on China‘s Hainan island over a coal-fired power plant.

Associated Press writer Louise Watt and researcher Henry Hou in Beijing contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks