February 27, 2024

China Shuts Solar Panel Factory After Anti-Pollution Protests

Since last Thursday, the factory, JinkoSolar Holding Company, has drawn hundreds of protesters, some of whom overturned vehicles and ransacked offices inside the plant in Haining city, Zhejiang Province.

At least 23 people have been detained on charges of vandalism and public disorder, including a man accused of “spreading false information” about the impact of pollution from the plant, the Haining city government said on its Web site. Three company employees were among those taken into police custody after they tried to wrest television cameras away from reporters attempting to film the demonstrations.

Villagers have complained about toxic smokestack omissions and factory wastewater they say killed a large number of fish. Government inspectors have confirmed that fluoride contamination was 10 times higher than acceptable levels after heavy rainfall swept improperly stored wastewater into a canal, according to the state-run media.

Local residents have also blamed the five-year-old plant for what they claim is an unusual number of cancer deaths, although local officials say such fears are exaggerated.

According to the Haining city Web site, JinkoSolar has been fined about $74,000. Company employees reached by phone on Monday declined to comment. JinkoSolar, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, reported revenue of about $360 million, in the second quarter.

The protests, which lasted four days and drew as many as 500 people, followed a much larger demonstration last month in the northeastern city of Dalian against a plant that makes paraxylene, a highly toxic component of polyester products. Government officials promised to relocate the plant after 12,000 residents took to the street.

Mia Li contributed research.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/world/asia/china-shuts-solar-panel-factory-after-anti-pollution-protests.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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