Chinese villagers riot to keep polluting pharmaceutical plant closed

Thousands of Chinese protestors battled police for hours on Sunday night in an effort to stop a polluting plant from resuming operations. Villagers in Xinchang, China, 180 miles south of Shanghai, say corrupt local officials have refused to do anything about chemical wastes from the Jingxin Pharmaceutical Co. that have ruined crops, poisoned the local river, and made villagers sick. Jingxin was closed after an explosion there killed a worker in early July; after plans to reopen it were announced on Thursday, people traveled via mountain paths and rice paddies to protest by throwing rocks and overturning police cars. Police have bussed in reinforcements and closed off all roads to the facility. Protestors in Xinchang say they’re inspired by the success in the nearby city of Dongyang, where more than 10,000 rioters turned out against a polluting pesticide factory in early spring. They vow to keep it up until the Jingxin plant is moved. Says one demonstrator, “They are making poisonous chemicals for foreigners that the foreigners don’t dare produce in their own countries.”