Chinese Incinerator Plan Cancelled After Thousands Join Protests

- by Mimi Lau, April 9, 2015, South China Morning Post

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"464","attributes":{"alt":"Chinese Incinerator Protest","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 250px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;","title":"Photo: SCMP pictures"}}]]A western Guangdong city has cancelled a plan to build an incinerator that prompted a protest - of up to 10,000 people on some accounts - during which three police cars were flipped and a duty office vandalised.

Luoding city government posted two letters on its website on Wednesday announcing the decision. One informed the Langtang township government that it had decided to cancel the project, which Langtang had brokered with China Resources Cement Holdings. The second urged residents to stop blocking roads, vandalising property or disturbing public order.

The decision came after residents of the town engaged in a defiant stand-off with police on Tuesday, in protest against what they said was the violent handling of a peaceful sit-in against the incinerator on Monday.

"People are angry with the site selection of the incinerator as it is within a 1km radius of people's homes," said one young resident. "The cement factory is producing enough pollution, we don't need another polluter."

Residents said about 1,000 locals turned up to Monday's sit-in, which took place outside a cement factory owned by China Resources. They claim demonstrators were beaten by more than 100 men dressed in black and armed with batons, helmets and shields. They say the men were a mix of policemen and security guards.

"My nephew is only 14 and is suffering from concussion after he was beaten by the men with batons," said one resident.

"It was very brutal and totally unnecessary to use such force against unarmed civilians during a peaceful and rational demonstration, especially as they attacked children too."

The clash at Monday's sit-in protest triggered the larger protest on Tuesday, which residents say involved about 10,000 locals.

Luoding city government claimed only 400 residents had taken part in Tuesday's standoff and denied any had been injured.

It said on Monday "a small number of troublemakers instigated the crowd" to block roads and throw rocks at factory staff.

Police arrested the "troublemakers" but 400 others gathered the next day, with some throwing rocks and glass bottles and vandalising police cars and the duty office, it said.