Over 1,000 Take To The Streets In China To Protest Oil Refinery - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Over 1,000 Take To The Streets In China To Protest Oil Refinery

Photo from NBC Photo from NBC

By Ed Flanagan, Producer, NBC News

BEIJING – Over 1,000 chanting demonstrators took to the streets of the southern Chinese city of Kunming on Thursday to protest plans for a state oil refinery - the latest sign of popular anger at environmental pollution.

Some carried signs emblazoned with, "PX… Get out of Kunming," in reference to paraxylene, a chemical used to make plastic products. If inhaled or absorbed, paraxylene can damage to the central nervous system.

Protesters who spoke to NBC News put the number of demonstrators at around 1,000, while The Associated Press reported that about 2,500 had attended. There was no explanation for the discrepancy and Kunming police declined to comment. 

The Kunning demonstration - the second in the city this month - comes amid growing anger against pollution and environmental degradation brought on by unchecked economic development throughout China.

"We don't need speedy development. What we need is a healthy and peaceful country," Kunming resident Liu Yuncheng told The Associated Press. "I still haven't given birth to a baby. I want to be pregnant and I want a healthy baby."

China National Petroleum Corp's (CNPC) construction of paraxylene-producing petrochemical plants has sparked protests from Ningo to Xiamen. In the case of Ningbo, thousands of residents clashed with police in October, eventually prompting officials there to halt construction of an installation.

Protesters in Kunming told NBC News by telephone that they had tried to march towards city hall, but were stopped by police who formed a security cordon around them.  By mid-afternoon, demonstrators had filtered through the blocks by using side streets, effectively ending the protest.

In Kunming, local government and company officials have tried to assuage health concerns by assuring residents that the plant would maintain strict environmental standards, and not necessarily produce paraxylene.

These assurances did not assuage many residents' fears.

"I don't know if this protest will be effective or not," one organizer said. "But if the government continues to build this plant, I'll keep protesting.

Another protester said she had been pulled in for questioning by local authorities this week for about nine hours. She did not participate in Thursday's protest.

Officials from CNPC were not available for comment.

According to the South China Morning Post, officials successfully blocked a similar protest against another proposed CNPC refinery in the provincial capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu.  Government officials announced an earthquake drill and effectively sealed off a number of landmarks where the rally had been planned, the newspaper reported.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane man intervenes in terrifying case of road rage

    Spokane man intervenes in terrifying case of road rage

    Thursday, September 21 2017 2:23 AM EDT2017-09-21 06:23:54 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A terrifying case of road rage could have gotten much worse if it hadn't been for a total stranger. The man went from a spectator to a participant in a matter of seconds. Once James Williams saw there were kids involved in this potentially dangerous situation, the former Marine Corps. medic said he had to do whatever he could do to help.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A terrifying case of road rage could have gotten much worse if it hadn't been for a total stranger. The man went from a spectator to a participant in a matter of seconds. Once James Williams saw there were kids involved in this potentially dangerous situation, the former Marine Corps. medic said he had to do whatever he could do to help.

    >>
  • Coeur d’Alene Police search for armed robbery suspect

    Thursday, September 21 2017 9:35 AM EDT2017-09-21 13:35:12 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d’Alene Police are searching for an armed robbery suspect who entered a grocery store demanding money from the clerk at gunpoint. The robbery occurred around 9pm Wednesday at Jordan's Grocery in the 1000 block of N. 15th street. The suspect male entered the store with a handgun and demanded money from the clerk who removed all the cash from the register and gave it to the suspect.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d’Alene Police are searching for an armed robbery suspect who entered a grocery store demanding money from the clerk at gunpoint. The robbery occurred around 9pm Wednesday at Jordan's Grocery in the 1000 block of N. 15th street. The suspect male entered the store with a handgun and demanded money from the clerk who removed all the cash from the register and gave it to the suspect.

    >>
  • Family, friends remember artist killed in I-90 crash

    Family, friends remember artist killed in I-90 crash

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 11:13 PM EDT2017-09-21 03:13:49 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - When Ryan Foster received the tragic news about losing his sister in a crash on Interstate 90, he couldn’t believe it. He was all the way back east in Jersey City, New Jersey, and got on a plane as fast as he could "Just shock, disbelief. I mean there's still a great deal of it, but at this point it's just about remembering her," said Ryan. 24-year-old Michaelanne Foster is being remembered as a talented artist and a loving and caring sister.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - When Ryan Foster received the tragic news about losing his sister in a crash on Interstate 90, he couldn’t believe it. He was all the way back east in Jersey City, New Jersey, and got on a plane as fast as he could "Just shock, disbelief. I mean there's still a great deal of it, but at this point it's just about remembering her," said Ryan. 24-year-old Michaelanne Foster is being remembered as a talented artist and a loving and caring sister.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Council member gives opponent ABC (already been chewed) gum

    Council member gives opponent ABC (already been chewed) gum

    Thursday, September 21 2017 8:09 PM EDT2017-09-22 00:09:26 GMT

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) - A Minneapolis City Council member has given one of her opponents something to chew over - a piece of chewed gum. Twenty-year incumbent Lisa Goodman took the gum out of her mouth and handed it to challenger Teqen Zea-Aida before the start of a candidate forum Tuesday. Goodman asked Zea-Aida: "Would you take my gum, please?" Goodman tells the Star Tribune she couldn't find any paper to get rid 

    >>

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) - A Minneapolis City Council member has given one of her opponents something to chew over - a piece of chewed gum. Twenty-year incumbent Lisa Goodman took the gum out of her mouth and handed it to challenger Teqen Zea-Aida before the start of a candidate forum Tuesday. Goodman asked Zea-Aida: "Would you take my gum, please?" Goodman tells the Star Tribune she couldn't find any paper to get rid 

    >>
  • The Latest: Kim says Trump will 'pay dearly' for threat

    The Latest: Kim says Trump will 'pay dearly' for threat

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:53 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:53:30 GMT
    The Latest: Kim says Trump will 'pay dearly' for threatThe Latest: Kim says Trump will 'pay dearly' for threat

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump and North Korea (all times local): 7:30 p.m. President Donald Trump has added economic action to his fiery military threats against North Korea, authorizing stiffer new sanctions in response to the Koreans' nuclear weapons advances. Its leader Kim Jong Un issued a rare statement, branding Trump as "deranged" and warning he will "pay dearly" his threat to "totally destroy" the North if it attacks. The e...

    >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump and North Korea (all times local): 7:30 p.m. President Donald Trump has added economic action to his fiery military threats against North Korea, authorizing stiffer new sanctions in response to the Koreans' nuclear weapons advances. Its leader Kim Jong Un issued a rare statement, branding Trump as "deranged" and warning he will "pay dearly" his threat to "totally destroy" the North if it attacks. The e...

    >>
  • Better late than never? Library book returned 78 years later

    Better late than never? Library book returned 78 years later

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:49 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:49:23 GMT
    Better late than never? Library book returned 78 years laterBetter late than never? Library book returned 78 years later

    ATTLEBORO, Mass.(AP) - It took nearly 80 years, but a book borrowed during the Great Depression has been returned to a Massachusetts public library. The Attleboro Public Library posted on its Facebook page Thursday pictures of a copy of "The Young Lady at Home," by T.S. Arthur. The book was returned this week. The due date stamped at the back of the book? Nov. 21, 1938. Library deputy director Amy Rhilinger tells WPRI-TV a man 

    >>

    ATTLEBORO, Mass.(AP) - It took nearly 80 years, but a book borrowed during the Great Depression has been returned to a Massachusetts public library. The Attleboro Public Library posted on its Facebook page Thursday pictures of a copy of "The Young Lady at Home," by T.S. Arthur. The book was returned this week. The due date stamped at the back of the book? Nov. 21, 1938. Library deputy director Amy Rhilinger tells WPRI-TV a man 

    >>