Solar Panel Factory Protests Tarnish China's Clean-tech Efforts

A protest over pollution from, ironically, a solar panel production plant, turned violent over the weekend, the Guardian reports:

Riot police broke up a four-day protest by several hundred villagers in Haining, Zhejiang province, who overturned cars and stormed the compound of a photovoltaic manufacturer that is accused of releasing toxins into a local river.

The demonstrators complained of police brutality and efforts to silence their voices in the latest in a rash of rallies and protests over environmental concerns in China.

The target on this occasion was Jinko Solar Holding, a fast-growing company listed on the New York stock exchange that produces ingots, wafers, cells and modules.

Although solar is seen as clean energy in terms of carbon emissions, the production of many components is energy intensive and polluting. Toxic discharges from the factory killed large numbers of fish and regulators have previously ordered the company to suspend operations, according to the domestic media.

Chen Hongming, deputy head of Haining’s environmental protection bureau, told the Xinhua news agency that the plant has failed to meet pollution standards since April despite official warnings.

See reports from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BBC.


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