The Biggest Chemical Project Puts Xiamen in Danger

On Mar. 22’s Xiao Xiang Morning Post (潇湘晨报), Lian Yue (连岳), an active blogger and a freelance writer, published a column on a dangerous chemical project in South-Eastern China’s Xiamen City, Fujian Province.

In the article (translated by CDT), Lian Yue said the one million people in Xiamen, if they are keeping an eye on the local media, should be very familiar with the city’s P-Xylene (a harmful chemical) project, which allegedly is going to yield an annual output worth 80 billion yuan after completion. The project was put in the Fujian governor’s government report. On the official website of the Xiamen government, there is also an article about it dated on Jan. 14, 2007. The article, named “Reporting to the Secretary General”, said that on Nov. 17, 2006, the biggest industry project in Xiamen’s history, the 800 thousand-ton PX project, kicked off. The report said that this means a world-level petrochemical giant (Xiamen) is emerging.

(Photo: the kick-off ceremony of the biggest industry project in Xiamen)

At the just-concluded two conferences, Zhao Yufen (˵µÁéâËä¨), a member of the CPPCC, led a proposal on terminating Xiamen’s PX project, because it poses a major hidden danger to public safety. The proposal was co-signed by 105 CPPCC members, and was named the top proposal at this year’s CPPCC meeting.

China Business, a weekly newspaper, reported on Mar. 19 that PX is a dangerous chemical and carcinogen. Its production should be placed 100 kilometers away from cities to ensure safety. But in Xiamen, the center of the PX project is only seven kilometers away from downtown and from the national scenic area Guliangyu (Ⱥìʵ™Â±ø). Haichang district, which is within a five-kilometer radius of the project, has a population of 100,000. The project’s port is located in Xiamen National Nature Reserve of Rare Marine Species.

But the top proposal never appears in Xiamen’s media. To Xiamen’s citizens, the proposal is non-existent.

Lian Yue said at the end of the article that in the eyes of government officials, “there is only the short-term GDP income. Public safety and long-term benefit can both be sacrificed. It’s not hard to imagine that within the whole country, there are many dangerous projects being launched without a whisper of opposition. We all live in a public space without public safety.”

The next day, Lian, who lives in Xiamen, published another column story on Southern Metropolitan News. In the column, “The Environmental Officials Who Can’t Protect the Environment,” Lian quoted China Business and said that Zhu Xingxiang (Á•ùÂÖ¥Á••), Chief of the Environmental Evaluation Section (ÁéØËØÑÂè∏Âè∏Èïø) of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), expressed his inability to stop the project. “A fundamental problem is the project is approved by the State Development and Reform Commission. SEPA has no say on the relocation of the project,” reported China Business.

The CPPCC has only one conference a year, and very few proposals are signed by 105 members, Lian said. He asked at the end of the story: if such a big power still can’t withdraw the dangerous project, then what environment can the SEPA protect?

On Mar. 29, Lian published a post, “What Xiamen People Can Do,” on his blog. Below is a translation of the post.

Now the core of the event is that relevant information has been blocked from Xiamen citizens. Before yesterday’s meeting of Xiamen People’s Political Consultative Conference, there were members who heard about the PX project and the proposal by Zhao Yufen for the first time from me. That means the cover-up is very successful. So for the time being, the most important thing is anti-censorship. Below is a list of things Xiamen People should do:

1, First, don’t be afraid. Talking about the CPPCC’s top proposal is not a crime, and you won’t be detained.
2, If you have a blog, please republish the China Business story. It’s also not a crime to republish news from a legal newspaper, and you won’t be detained either.
3, If you are afraid, please just talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about this event. They might still in the dark.
4, If you are still afraid, just tell your family and your best friends.
5, If you are not afraid, you should tell your friends in Zhangzhou (漳州) and Quanzhou (泉州). They are also in danger.
6, You only need to say:
— this is a project objected to by 105 CPPCC members, among whom there are the most authoritative experts.
— The PX project should be placed at least 100 kilometers away from cities to ensure safety.
— Xiamen people are still deprived of the right to know the danger of the PX project. This is counterevidence that the project is against people’s will.
— The project will lead to the recession of Xiamen’s economy, the depreciation of properties, and the decrease of visitors. Xiamen people will also be viewed as weak and stupid.
— The project will increase the possibility of getting cancer
— You don’t have to behave very bravely. Just let people beside you know this event, and you will not be held accountable for the death of Xiamen.


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