News / Asia

Chinese Residents in Kunming Protest Chemical Refinery

Chinese demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against a planned refinery project in downtown Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan province, May 16, 2013.
Chinese demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against a planned refinery project in downtown Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan province, May 16, 2013.
VOA News
Residents of the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming took to the streets Thursday for a protest against the construction of a state-run chemical and petroleum refinery they say will harm the environment.

Groups of shouting protesters waved flowers, wore symbolic face masks and carried banners warning of the dangers of paraxylene, a chemical set to be produced at the refinery by the powerful state company Petrochina Co.

One of the protesters, who identified herself only as Liu, said she rejects the government's argument that the plant is crucial for the local economy.

"We, the people of Kunming, cherish the skies of blue and the clouds of white, as well as good air. If you want to build a refining plant with a capacity of 10 million tons where we live, we resolutely oppose it."

The protest, which some included more than 2,000 people, was largely peaceful. But groups of protesters did scuffle with police, who were out in large numbers to contain the crowds. Some pictures on Chinese social media showed protesters being dragged away by what appear to be plainclothes officers.

It is the second large protest this month against the facility in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. Under increasing pressure, local officials have promised the facility will be environmentally friendly. But many citizens remain skeptical, pointing out what they say is the government's record of focusing on economic development without considering the environmental cost.

Many Chinese citizens are growing impatient with the country's worsening pollution and other environmental problems. They have increasingly taken to street protests to express their displeasure with massive state factories. In some cases, such protests have proven successful in derailing the projects.

Last November, a petrochemical project in the eastern city of Ningbo was suspended following days of protests. In 2011, large-scale protests in the northeastern city of Dalian forced the government to suspend a similar plant.

But authorities in some cases have cracked down hard on planned protests, flooding the streets with massive numbers of police. They have also worked to erase much of the criticism of such projects from China's popular microblogs.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid