China shuts solar plant after pollution protest

China has ordered the closure of a solar panel plant in after hundreds of local residents staged violent protests.

Updated: Sep 19, 2011, 14:12 PM IST

Shanghai: China has ordered the closure of a
solar panel plant in the east of the country after hundreds of
local residents staged violent protests over pollution,
authorities said on Monday.

The protesters broke into the factory in Zhejiang
province, ransacking offices and overturning vehicles before
being forced back by police in a three-day protest that began
on Thursday, according to state media reports.

The closure of the plant, owned by the US-listed company
Jinko Solar, comes weeks after authorities in the northeastern
city of Dalian shut down a chemical factory after some 12,000
residents took to the streets over pollution fears.

It demonstrates official concern over the growing public
anger about pollution in China, where an emphasis on economic
growth over the past three decades has led to widespread
environmental degradation.

The protesters in Zhejiang`s Haining city were demanding
an explanation for the death of large numbers of fish in a
nearby river, China`s official Xinhua news agency said.

Haining`s city government today said tests had showed the
plant in Zhejiang`s Haining city was emitting excessive levels
of fluoride, which can be toxic in high doses, as it announced
the plant`s closure.

"(We) ordered the company to halt production and overhaul
the production procedures that involve emission of waste gas
and waste water," it said in a statement.

"(We will) go all out to maintain stability and seriously
deal with those who are suspected of violating laws in the
incident in accordance with the law."

The city government also said police had detained a man
for spreading "rumours" on the Internet about the number of
sufferers of leukaemia and other cancers living near the

Chinese authorities have repeatedly voiced concerns about
the role of online social networks as citizens increasingly
turn to the Internet to vent their anger in a country where
authorities maintain a tight grip on traditional media.