Villagers protest metal plant for pollution

By Cheng Yingqi and Huang Feifei (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-15 07:32
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NANNING - More than 1,000 villagers marched on the streets in Jingxi county of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to protest against the pollution caused by an aluminum plant, the county government said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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Almost all the residents in Lingwan village were involved in blocking the road to Jingxi county on Tuesday afternoon, and some villagers threw stones at the police who had been sent by the Jingxi government, the statement said.

One official hit by stones was sent to the hospital, but no other injuries were reported.

The villagers dispersed on Tuesday evening.

The protest was the latest incident in a conflict between local residents and the Xinfa plant of aluminum manufacturer Shandong Xinfa Aluminum & Power Group, based in Chiping of East China's Shandong province, according to Qin Weifeng, an officer with the publicity department of the county government.

"Villagers have been very unhappy for a long time about the pollution caused by the plant," Qin said.

The villagers also obstructed the gate of the plant on Tuesday afternoon and damaged some production facilities, the government statement said.

Phone calls to the owner of the Xinfa plant remained unanswered throughout Wednesday afternoon.

The Xinfa plant is one of the three largest aluminum producers in Jingxi. The city of Baise, which administrates Jingxi county, produces over 1 billion tons of aluminum.

Leaders from Baise also went to Jingxi to hear opinions from villagers and the plant's managers.