Monday, September 19, 2011

Chinese Protesters Accuse Solar Panel Plant of Pollution - 19th Sept 2011

In a fresh indication of growing public anger over pollution, hundreds of demonstrators in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang on Sunday were camped outside a solar panel manufacturing plant that stands accused of contaminating a nearby river.

The demonstration was the latest move in a four-day protest that has sometimes turned violent.

The unrest began Thursday, when about 500 residents gathered outside the plant, in Haining, roughly 80 miles southwest of Shanghai. Some protesters stormed the five-year-old factory compound, overturning eight company vehicles, smashing windows and destroying offices. The next day, four police cars were damaged.

The factory is owned by JinkoSolar Holding Company, a Chinese firm with more than 10,000 employees that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and reported total revenue in the second quarter of 2.3 billion renminbi, or about $360 million. Some investment analysts described the company last year as a promising upstart in the solar-energy products business.

“Return our lives to us, stay away from Jinko,” read one protest banner that was photographed by a news agency. Company officials could not be reached for comment on the unrest.

According to Chinese news reports, residents claimed runoff from solid waste laced with fluoride and improperly stored at the plant had been swept into the nearby river after heavy rainfall on Aug. 26. They said that a sea of dead fish rose to the surface, covering hundreds of square yards of water. Pigs whose sties had been washed with river water also were reported to have died. Read More