China trash incinerator project called off after protest

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2016 3:07 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in eastern China have halted plans to build a trash incinerator after rowdy street protests by residents and the arrests of two women.

The Haiyan county government in Zhejiang province said in a statement Friday that hundreds of residents began to gather illegally Wednesday and blocked roads. Tthe demonstration escalated on Thursday evening when the mob attacked a local government building, smashing objects and causing injuries to police officer and bystanders, it said.

A 19-year-old woman was detained on charges of spreading unverified gory pictures and videos on the Internet, which were viewed more than 5,000 times. Another woman was charged with spreading insults against local officials, the government said.

The Haiyan government first revealed plans for the project on April 12, saying it was needed to help dispose of the 450 tons of solid waste that residents are generating every day.

No reason was given for the cancellation.

Recent years have seen a growing number of protests against incinerators, chemical plants and other projects believed to threaten the environment and living conditions.

Those have generally been permitted despite the ruling Communist Party's pervasive crackdown on independent organizers and political critics, although arrests often follow once demonstrations die down.

Environmental safety concerns have been further fueled by a string of serious accidents involving deadly chemicals in China.

In August, 173 people, many of them firefighters, were killed in a chemical explosion in the port of Tianjin involving 700 tons of highly toxic sodium cyanide. Investigators said the warehouses storing the chemicals had been built too close to residential units and numerous people were arrested for violating regulations on safe distances.