Business, Finance & Economics

Chinese villagers vent fury outside solar plant

Hundreds of Chinese villagers have spent three days camped in protest outside a solar panel plant, accusing it of dumping toxic waste into a river.

China's official Xinhua news agency said Sunday that around 500 people had earlier stormed the Jinko Solar company, in the eastern city of Haining, in Zhejiang province.

They overturned vehicles and destroyed offices before being dispersed by police, but hundreds remained outside the plant.

According to photographs published on the website of the National Business Daily newspaper on Sunday, protesters posted banners that said: "Return our lives to us, stay away from Jinko".

Residents in the nearby village of Hongxiao said they became worried after a large number of river fish started dying.

The factory is understood to be located close to a school and kindergarten. One villager told the Associated Press that it has a dozen heavily smoking chimneys, and that waste is discharged into the river.

The villagers strongly request that this factory be moved to another area. I am very worried about the health of the younger generation.

Authorities had already ordered the company, which manufactures photovoltaic panels, cells and wafers, to suspend operations, Xinhua said.

Jinko's waste disposal facilities had been reportedly failing pollution tests since April.

Reuters said that in China, pollution has emerged as one of the biggest problems facing the ruling Communist Party, “which has struggled to contain growing public anger against industries improperly dumping toxic waste”.