China punishes protesters against Sichuan project

12 May 2008 12:51  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS news)--Local government officials punished about six people alleged to have spread rumours and staged an illegal demonstration against a petrochemical project in Sichuan province, according to a press conference held over the weekend in the capital Chengdu.

One person who was accused of inciting subversion was detained on criminal charges, while three people who were accused of spreading rumours on the internet and took part in the march were under administrative detention. More than two others were given a security warning.

The police were seeking another two alleged to have incited and plotted the illegal demonstration, a source said. Some internet pages covering the protest march have been deleted.

More than 200 people peacefully marched and protesting the construction of a large-scale petrochemical project, citing potential air and water pollution on 4 May.

The government and PetroChina began building the 800,000 tonne/year ethylene plant in early 2006 with an investment of yuan (CNY) 21bn ($3bn) and it was expected to come on stream in 2009.

A 10m tonne/year refinery, a complementary project for the ethylene plant, which received official approval last month, would likely begin in the first half of this year.

The government finally decided to relocate a paraxylene (PX) project out of Xiamen, Fujian province, in March following protests last year.

($1 = CNY6.99)

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By: Judith Wang
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