China Authorities Close Chemical Plant

Storm waves damaged a dike near the tanks of the factory on Aug 8th.

After massive protests against a chemical factory in the northeastern port city Dalian, the authorities have ordered the immediate closure of the plant. The closure was prompted after the protesters had refused to end their protest, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The area around the chemical plant had been evacuated on Monday after a storm waves caused a dike to protect the factory were damaged. Residents of the city had to be evacuated because of an impending environmental catastrophe. Although the dam could be repaired, but concerns remained, the risk to human and the environment still exist as long as the factory continues using combustible chemicals for polyester production.

“We want to survive”

According to Xinhua, around 12,000 protesters gathered outside the municipal administration, which was backed by hundreds of policemen. It had come to clashes between the protesters and the police when the officers tried to seal off a main road. Hundreds of people came later on in other parts of the city, shouting slogans and waving banners. According to unconfirmed messages on Twitter, a number of armed police vehicles moved into the city.

Pictures on short message service Weibo.com showed protesters with a banner reading “We want to survive, we want a good environment, we want our Dalian back.”

Concerns about risks to health and the environment had repeatedly resulted to some violent protests against industrial projects in China in recent years. In a much noted case in 2007, a billion-worth project construction for a petrochemical plant in the southeastern port city of Xiamen was stopped after there had been numerous demonstrations of the inhabitants.