Residents of Lianhua County in the southeastern province of Jiangxi staged a large demonstration against a polluting chemical plant on 16 August. Their protest came just two days after more then 12,000 took the streets of Dalian, in the northeast, forcing the city authorities to close a petrochemical plant. Read our report on the Dalian protests here.
Locals involved in the Jiangxi protest organised a blockade over several months at the entrance of Longsen Industrial Company, which they blame for severe pollution of water, fish, and crops in the area. On Tuesday 16 August, the local government decided to crack down on the demonstration, sending in hundreds of armed police. Reports have surfaced of police beatings and injuries to several protesters.
The demonstration moved onto a major highway to block traffic, drawing even fiercer repression from the authorities. Unconfirmed reports say that over 2,000 people took part in the protest. Several arrests were made and an eyewitness told the Epoch Times that, “The police used electric batons to beat them, including children who were merely 12 or 13 years old.”
According to blog commentaries the company manufactures alloys, releasing several toxic substances such as chromium and lead into the local environment. This has been blamed for fish deaths and destruction of vegetation.
“Since last year, many children started to get sick. As two children died afterward, villagers were so infuriated that they blocked the entrance of the plant, and didn’t allow the plant to be operational. They have blocked the front entrance with mud and bricks since four or five months ago,” one villager told the Epoch Times.