28 Jul 2012

Chinese protesters angry at waste pipeline plan

8:30 pm on 28 July 2012

Angry demonstrators have occupied a government office in eastern China, destroying computers and overturning cars in a protest against an industrial waste pipeline they say will poison their coastal waters.

About 1000 protesters moved through the coastal city of Qidong, north of Shanghai, shouting slogans against the planned pipeline, which would empty waste from a paper factory in a nearby town into the sea.

"The government says the waste will not pollute the sea, but if that's true, then why don't they dump it into Yangtze River?" says Lu Shuai, a 25-year-old protester who works in logistics.

"It is because if they dump it into the river, it will have an impact on people in Shanghai and people in Shanghai will oppose it."

Several protesters entered the city government's main building and were seen smashing computers, overturning desks and throwing documents out the windows to loud cheers from the crowd.

At least two police officers were dragged into the crowd at the government office and punched and beaten enough to make them bleed.

It was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation and highlights the social tensions the government in Beijing faces as it approaches a leadership transition this year.

On Friday, an effort to stave off the impending protest, the Qidong city government announced it would suspend the project for further research.

But many protesters said on Saturday that postponement was not enough.