Residents Blockade Polluting FactoryResidents charge: “The children of our village are sick because the air is poisoned.”
On Sunday 26 June, residents of Jianxia, a village in the eastern province of Zhejiang, took over the Zhejiang Tianneng Battery, a factory of batteries, which they claim is causing pollution and poisoning their children. Around 600 people have shut 1,000 factory employees inside the building. The company is the largest national producer of batteries for electric-powered bicycles.
“My father is staying there at night and my mother during the day,” said Han Cheg, a village resident who has a four-year-old daughter. “We will not let the workers go until a solution is found. In the village, there are around 200 children and they all feel ill. The factory has been polluting the air for eight years.”
Clashes between village residents and factory workers resulted in the admission of four people into hospital. An official of Meishan city, around 150km from Shanghai, of which Jianxia village forms part, said local government representatives have met residents to resolve the situation. The source said: “The authorities are trying to resolve the problem. Some residents are exasperated and they have reacted on impulse. Everything can be discussed by sitting around a table, but it is not right to prevent workers from leaving.”
The demonstrators took up their stand outside the factory four days ago and police on the spot have not yet used force to send them away. A spokesman for the Tianneng Battery said the number of protesters varies by the day: “People are still there but now it is calmer.”
Financial backers of the company include the New World China Enterprises Projects – a subsidiary of the New World Development, a Hong Kong company – and a US investment fund. This information was taken from the Tianneng Battery website.
This is only the last in a wave of nationwide social agitations and unrest. On Sunday 26 June, more than 10,000 people rose up in the streets of Chizhou city in Anhui province, after a car with four men ran over Liu Liang, a young pedestrian. The protesters set fire to two police cars on the scene and to the “guilty” car. They also threw fire crackers and stones at the local police station.
A police car caused a traffic jam on Wednesday 29 June in Guiyang, the provincial capital of Guizhou, when the driver refused to pay a toll because the vehicle was in service and escorting a person to a “re-education-through-work” camp. When the traffic warden refused to let the car through, the vehicle remained still and blocked the thoroughfare. A further 20 police cars came to the car’s aid and more than 1,000 people gathered on site, mostly passengers of stalled vehicles in the queue for the toll booth. The incident stalled traffic on the street for four hours.