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Protests prompt cities to suspend chemical plants

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Gaizhou became the fifth Northeast China city in a week to suspend an aluminum oxide chemical plant after a wave of pollution protests in Liaoning Province.

Authorities last week halted aluminum oxide projects in the cities of Fengyang, Chaoyang, Fuxin and Huludao after protests over environmental concerns.

Gaizhou, a city administrated by the much-larger prefecture-level city of Yingkou, announced the suspension via its police Sina Weibo microblog account Sunday evening, saying the decision came in response to public concern.

"Heated discussions on the project broke out last weekend," read a notice issued by Gaizhou government earlier in the day.

Some opponents had posted that "the project will affect the drinking water of Yingkou citizens, cause cancer, stunt the development of the young and cause memory loss among the elderly," the notice said.

City police on Sunday issued a notice via their official Sina Weibo microblog warning that Yingkou internet users were spreading misinformation via the internet and other media, and organizing and inciting the masses to take to the streets without approval.

The notice urged Gaizhou residents not to participate in illegal activities, warning offenders would be held legally accountable.

Construction began in March in the Gaizhou town of Shagang, and was scheduled to finish in 18 months, aluminum industry website www.alu.cn reported Tuesday.

The project was expected to earn annual profits of nearly 8 billion yuan ($117 million), provide more than 1,000 jobs and yield 2.5 million tons of aluminum oxide products.

With an investment of 6 billion yuan , the aluminum oxide project in Gaizhou was contracted in February to the Chongqing Bosai Mineral Group.

Global Times



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