Anti-pollution protest in China turns bloody

Saturday, April 19, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: anti-pollution protest, paraxylene, China

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(NaturalNews) A series of photographs published recently on the Chinese Twitter-like microblog service Weibo has shown scores of demonstrators marching along streets, an overturned car ablaze and protesters lying bloodied along the road, while still others showed paramilitary police marching in formation.

According to a report by Reuters, the violent images involving hundreds of Chinese -- though not independently verifiable by the newswire service -- caused a stir on Chinese social media, though many of the messages were ultimately removed from the site by government censors.

The posted images indicated that some residents of Maoming, located in China's Guangdong province, were protesting the production of paraxylene, a chemical used in the manufacture of fabrics and plastic bottles at a plant run by the local government and state-owned Sinopec Corp., the country's largest refiner.

Chinese becoming fed up with so much pollution

Reuters reported that some of the photos that were posted online were of demonstrators who were calling for the chemical plant to "get out of Maoming."

In a statement published by the Maoming city government after the photos appeared online, officials called the demonstrations a "grave violation" of the law that "seriously affects the social order."

The city government went on to say that some of the demonstrators had thrown bottles and rocks, which prompted the police to respond.

City officials said no one was killed, but their statement did not indicate whether anyone was hurt.

Protests elsewhere have been reported as well.

The eastern city of Ningbo suspended a petrochemical project following many days' worth of demonstrations in November 2012. The year before, protests prompted the suspension of a paraxylene plant in the northeastern city of Dalia. And last year, a similar demonstration occurred in the southern city of Kunming.

The protests come as pollution in China worsens, largely due to increasing industrialization and a lack of appropriate policy response by Beijing. In a number of Chinese cities, smog is thick and hazardous, where it is often criticized by China's growing educated and affluent urban class.

The cycle of pollution continues

Natural News has been tracking the progress of China's growing, industrialization-produced pollution:

-- In October, we reported that China's air pollution was so bad it was dumping toxic mercury on a Japanese geographical icon, Mt. Fuji []:

China and India combined have more coal-burning energy plants than the rest of the world, and China has more than India. Japanese scientists are openly complaining that the almost 13,000 foot Mt. Fuji is coated with toxic mercury from China's coal burning plants.

Some Chinese scientists have challenged that by explaining Mt. Fuji's high mercury counts could be from other sources, but Japanese scientists have noted the mercury count is highest when the air currents are westerly from the Chinese mainland. They say they are lowest when Pacific air currents come through.

Researchers and scientists concluded that most of the toxic mercury was coming from the dirty coal-fired plants, most of which don't meet the same safety and environmental requirements as coal-fired plants in the U.S. (though, oddly, the U.S. is singled out as being the biggest coal-plant polluter).

-- In January, we reported that the air pollution levels in Beijing had reached crisis proportions []:

And the level of pollutants is starting to catch up with China's residents, who have to breath it. Recent weeks have seen declarations of "extremely dangerous pollution" in Beijing, with particulate matter reaching more than two dozen times the level considered safe for airborne toxins.

-- In February, we reported that the smog had gotten so bad in some parts of the country that the government was forcing some businesses to close their doors, as particulate levels were 16 times higher than World Health Organization standards []:

These extreme levels have prompted authorities to issue a code orange alert, which has never been used and is for heavy and dangerous smog lasting at least three consecutive days. On guard to unleash code red, authorities are scrambling to restrict industries from furthering the smog.


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