09/21/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Zhejiang, protests against pollution: 30 arrested, 100 sent for re-education

The Chinese government continues to struggle with social unrest caused by pollution and land exploitation. Villagers take to the streets against an industry listed in New York sparking repression.
Haining (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Social protests continue to rock China. After 3 days of demonstrations against pollution caused by a solar panel industry in Zhejiang Province, local authorities arrested 30 demonstrators and sent a further 100 unidentified for "legal education". Those arrested are accused of "damage to private property" - in this case for allegedly having caused damage to some materials belonging to Jinko Solar Holdings, listed in New York - and that of having "seriously disturbed social order."

The government had ordered the closure of the Haining factory on Monday, after an investigation had established that its discharged waste was the cause of a massive fish death in the river that borders the property. According to Chen Hongming, vice chairman of the local Office for the Environment, Jinko " was discharging excessive pollutants, a problem it was ordered to fix".

It is unclear whether, there were casualties during the protests, but local sources say dozens of people – who took to the streets against the damage caused by the industry - were injured during clashes with police. Certainly among those arrested is a man of 33, who blogged that local pollution has caused cancer in 31 inhabitants of his village and leukemia in a further 6. According to the government, he "spread false information on the internet" and was therefore arrested.

Local industrialist Ma Jie says that pollution in the area had been very common, as factories, mostly those specialising in solar panels and related technology, have flourished in the traditionally agricultural town. These industries were holding their own solid waste in a warehouse, but after a while they started to leave them outdoors. The rain did the rest. "

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