China Environmental News Digest

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Trial of anti-pollution protesters begins in southern China

The Associated Press

International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Five environmental activists who were arrested for protesting the construction of a chemical plant in southern China went on trial Tuesday, a court official said.

The five were arrested in June for staging a protest against the building of a manganese electrolyte plant, the Human Rights in China group said in a statement.

Included among the five is Huang Jin, chairman of Leishe district in Daxin county, Guangxi province.

A court official who would give only his surname, Zhao, confirmed the trial had begun. He said a verdict was possible in the next several days, but he gave no more details.

The New York-based rights group said the five were arrested after leading a sit-in of 1,000 villagers who were upset that the plant was being built close to their homes.

It said authorities used hundreds of police to break up the demonstration and arrest the protest leaders.

The area is already the site of several plants which villagers say have caused widespread environmental damage.

Land seizures for factories and worries about pollution have spurred numerous protests, some violent, throughout China's poor countryside in recent years. The disputes are a major concern for Communist leaders, who worry about unrest among the 800 million rural Chinese.


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