Protesters in the town of Ningbo China have been jailed on various charges. Mass protests have been taking place to protest plans for an expansion of petrochemical refining capacity. Over 100 people were detained. Some were released but about 50 people are facing criminal charges.
The city of Ningbo is a major port and industrial city that has rivers and access to the Yellow Sea. Industries include chemical refining, pharmaceuticals and biotech as well as large petroleum capacity. Authorities want to increase the refining capacity by 15 million tons per year.
Part of the emissions released during the refining process is paraxylene(xylene) which is poisonous. It can affect the central nervous system, damage liver and kidneys, and in higher doses cause death. The petrochemical plant produced 500 000 tons of the chemical last year, but lax pollution controls mean that a significant amount of toxins are released into the atmosphere.
Authorities have agreed to a moratorium on the plant’s expansion. They have also suppressed news within China about the civil unrest.
Last August authorities agreed to close a petrochemical plant in Dalian, China when protesters demanded that the plant be moved to a less populated area. The catalyst for the protesters action was a near miss when a tropical storm pushed waves into the factory grounds. By January of 2012 observers reported emissions from the factory and it appeared to be operating as normal. Other reports claim that the production has ramped up. “Production at the Dalian plant had increased from 700,000 metric tons annually, to 1.4 million metric tons, the Eastern Daily News reported.
The article was unavailable on the popular Chinese Internet search engine Sohu on Tuesday, however.” Radio Free Asia
Paraxylene is an important chemical used in the making of polyesters. China imports much of its petroleum. Canada’s federal government is backing a consortium of investors who wish to build a pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to the Pacific coast to facilitate the selling of the sandy mixture to Asia. Opposition to the scheme is growing.
The state owned Chinese oil company Sinopec, is a major player in the oil sands projects and seeks to become a bigger one in the future, offering to buy a Canadian owned company Nexen, at a premium price.
The dark glasses have become the iconic image of Chen. Chinese citizens are discouraged from using his name.
You will remember the drama surrounding Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng this spring. Chen was subjected to house arrest in his village in spite of the lack of any criminal charges against him. He had been a campaigner against forced late abortions and the one-child policy. Authorities had jailed him at one point and he served years in detention.
His family was harassed and physically attacked if they ventured out of their compound. Local government officials and their stooges periodically entered his home.
Last May the blind activist, with help, scaled the wall around his compound and escaped, ending up at the American Embassy in Beijing. The upshot of the furor was that Chen was granted leave along with his wife and daughter. He was removed to the US.
Chen agreed to go on the condition that his family would not be harassed and that an investigation be mounted into the illegal activity of locals in harassing him and his family. Speaking to reporters from Washington, DC, Chen claims that the agreement has been broken.
His nephew Chen Kegui has been charged with attempted murder and is in jail. He has been denied legal counsel. Chen says that his nephew was defending himself. “Chen called the continued detention of his nephew “essentially a continuance of my own case,” and dismissed the charges against him, saying that Chen Kegui had simply been defending himself with a kitchen knife when “local government officials and their hired thugs” broke into his home
.” Radio Free Asia
Chinese authorities have removed a high ranking district law enforcement officer and moved him to another position. Other than that, there is no news of an ongoing investigation into the beatings and harassment that the Chen family has suffered.
Migrant workers in Guangdong Province in China have clashed with locals. Significant property damage has occurred and there are unsubstantiated reports of deaths. Military forces have moved into the town of Shaxi in an attempt to restore peace.
The trouble began when it is alleged that a student who was from out of town was beaten by locals. To add to the damage, migrant workers accused the police of further hurting the youngster.
Tuesday reports of thousands of workers from Sichuan Province have entered Shaxi to reinforce their fellow migrant workers, adding to the tension. "However, a local resident said the whole area was still under a security lockdown on Wednesday, and repeated online reports that some deaths had occurred during the violence. "Everything has been shut down by the government," the resident said. "They killed a lot of people." Radio Free Asia
While the great leap forward in the Chinese economy that began in the 90’s many people have gotten rich and many more have achieved middle class standard of living. Much of the economic wealth created in recent years has been thanks to the poorly paid migrant workers.
Clashes between locals and migrants in China have occurred in recent years, often sparked by accusations of discrimination against the out of towners.
Fallout continues from the scandal and ousting of Communist Party Leader, Bo Xilai whose wife is charged with murder in a money smuggling scheme. Now middle ranking Communist Party members are calling for a sweep of those associated with the formerly popular leader.
In an open letter, the signatories are calling for the Security Chief, Zhou Yongkang, who is seen as a hardliner who uses violence to subdue dissent and propaganda chief Liu Yunshan. "We are demanding this because Zhou Yongkang directed the 'Chongqing model' and supported Bo Xilai. They are liars, they are of the same ilk," Zhao said. Al Jazeera
Ongoing accusations of corruption have been levelled against officials ranging in power at the village level to country wide authority. Whether it is the misuse of police power or stealing of funds directly, many people have alleged their officials are dishonest.
As an example, about 100 people in Shenzhen Province were protesting a grab of their parking spaces and the pressure to rebuy them at exorbitant rates. (Radio Free Asia) Often when they object to unfair treatment, they are brutalized. "The police were beating people up ... We took photos of some of the villagers who were bleeding from the beatings," Zeng said. "The police were using their fists and electric batons."Radio Free Asia
These cracks in the normally smooth façade of the Chinese politburo comes as the country is preparing for the convening of the five year congress.
A young Tibetan man was detained by authorities in Lhasa for gazing at the moon. The young man, Phurbu Namgyal, aged 20 and his pals were leaving a club when the incident happened. Apparently the young fellow imagined that he had seen an image of the Dalai Lama in the face of the moon before and wanted his friends to see it too.
While to many of us in the western world look at the interference of authorities when a group of young men stand around trying to see an image on the moon think “who is the lunatic?”, apparently the Chinese occupiers don’t see it that way. They have maintained a campaign of criticism against the religious leader labelling him “splittist” for his efforts to gain some autonomy for Tibet.
Ref: Radio Free Asia
Recently more Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest the heavy hand of the Chinese in their country. The Dalai Lama has criticised the Chinese government for its approach in governing that country. “This problem started from totalitarian, blind sort of unrealistic policy. So, the people who create that policy must think seriously about this—that's my response," he said when asked about the self-immolations in the interview recorded before his Hawaii trip.” Radio Free Asia
Next time the moon is full in your neck of the woods, take some time to step outside and gaze up at it. I only see the ‘old man in the moon’ but I had never thought to look for anyone else’s image. Even so, take a moment to think about what it must be like to be arrested for gazing at the moon.
Tags: chinese government, dalai lama, politics, tibet, moon