More than 100 villagers rampaged through a tannery complex in Quanzhou in China’s eastern Fujian Province on April 9, attacking several factories over their air and water pollution, the local paper Strait News reported.
Attacks on four factories took place between 8 and 10 p.m., including a leather manufacturer, a sewage treatment plant, and a resin factory. Armed with steel rods, villagers from the neighboring villages smashed windows and looted canteens, offices, and warehouses. No one was injured in the incident.
What incited the attacks was growing anger over the air emissions and wastewater discharges from those factories. The major culprit being blamed is Pu’an Tannery Sewage Treatment Plant, an auxiliary facility that started its first phase of operation last August with a daily treatment capacity of 5,000 tons.
“Since the Songhua spill and greater publicity of rural protests over the past year, local governments are coming under pressure to respond to environmental problems in a more timely manner. This case also hints that local environmental protection bureaus may be getting greater power to respond proactively to such incidents,” said Jennifer Turner, head of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C.
The original Chinese report is available here.