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Party authorities in Southwest China's Sichuan province have named a new top Party official for the city of Shifang after a massive protest against a planned heavy metal manufacturing plant.
The Deyang committee of the Communist Party of China decided to send Zuo Zheng, a member of its standing committee, to Shifang, a city under Deyang's administration, to serve as its top Party official, according to a statement released late on Thursday.
Zuo, also vice-mayor of Deyang, will be the Party's first secretary in Shifang, while the current Party secretary of Shifang Li Chengjin will assist Zuo in his work, the statement said.
"It's a rare decision as CPC committees at local levels have seldom had first secretaries since the late 1980s," said Sha Wanqiang, an official at the research office of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee's organization department.
Zuo's appointment followed a public protest against a planned molybdenum copper plant in Shifang earlier this week.
After nearly five years of preparation, Hongda Group held the launch ceremony of the plant on June 29. Some Sichuan provincial government officials participated in the ceremony.
With a planned investment of 10.4 billion yuan ($1.64 billion), the plant would be able to produce 40,000 tons of molybdenum and 400,000 tons of cathode copper.
Fearing molybdenum, a heavy mental, would contaminate water and cause cancer, a large number of protesters from Shifang and neighboring cities, such as Guanghan, Mianzhu and Pengzhou, as well as Jintang county, who failed to be informed of the project until the news was aired on TV, gathered in downtown Shifang on Monday to protest.
Due to the public opposition, the Shifang government decided on Tuesday to scrap the project, according to an official statement.
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