China: villagers occupy, ransack factory in pollution protest
Some 500 villagers in China's Zhejiang province protested for a third day Sept. 17 at the factory of Zhejiang Jinko Solar, storming the compound, ransacking offices and overturning vehicles. Residents from the village of Hongxiao gathered outside the gates of the solar panel manufacturer in nearby Haining city to demand an explanation for the death of a large swath of fish in a river downstream from the plant last month. They grew angry after receiving no answer following a three-day vigil. The factory had earlier this year received a warning from Haining's environmental protection bureau for improper waste disposal. The company sells solar products around the world, maintaining offices in the US and Europe.
Protests over pollution have spread across China in recent years. In August, a petrochemical plant in northern city of Dalian (Liaoning province) was shut down after thousands of residents took to streets to demand its relocation over concerns about toxic leaks. A similar protest in 2007 forced authorities in southeastern Xiamen city (Fujian province) to scrap plans to build a petrochemical complex. (Xinhua, Sept. 18)