Thousands Protest in China Suburb Over Chemical Plant Fears

Thousands Protest in China Suburb Over Chemical Plant Fears

Shanghai: Thousands of people took to the streets in a distant suburb of Shanghai today saying they feared the government would build a chemical plant, despite assurances from officials that the plan will not go ahead.

Choking smog and environmental degradation in many parts of China is angering an increasingly educated and affluent urban class.

After a series of health scares and accidents there is also deepening public scepticism about the safety of industries ranging from food to energy.

There have been numerous protests in recent years focused on petrochemical plants that produce paraxylene, known as PX, a chemical used in making polyester fibre and plastics.

The latest demonstration also underscores the intensity of mistrust many Chinese feel about a government that tightly controls the media and has a poor reputation for transparency.

The government of the Shanghai district of Jinshan on Monday said that plans for a chemical industrial zone did not include, and would not include in the future, a PX facility, and called on people not to take to the streets.

Residents of Jinshan, a industrial, working class suburb of Shanghai about one hour’s drive from downtown, said that the protests had already been going on for about a week.

On Saturday evening, residents marched though city streets shouting “Go people of Jinshan”.
Some carried signs reading “No good chemical plant”. Police walked along with the protesters, but made no effort to stop them.

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