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Police Beat Back Coal Plant Protesters in Hainan Province

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Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner condemning the use of coal, on a dry riverbed near one of the Beijing’s biggest coal-fired power plants on July 28, 2009. This year more protests against a coal power plant took place in the South China town of Yinggehai, Hainan Province. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Thousands of riot police beat back residents in the South China town of Yinggehai, Hainan Province, in yet another protest against a coal power plant, which has been the site of protests since the beginning of the year. Police have locked down the town, and more armed police and military reinforcements have been mobilized to restrain the protest with tear gas, beatings with electric batons, and arrests.

Residents told NTD Television reporters that about half the town came out to protest the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the power plant on Oct. 18. They said police met them with an anti-riot force which extended from the town to the seashore of this island province and then fired tear gas into the crowd to disperse them.

Mr. Li, a Yinggehai resident, said two were arrested and another two were injured. Police prohibit photo taking or video recording and phone conversations are monitored, said another resident, Mr. Ren. Residents told the reporter that classes are suspended, shops are closed, and police have closed roads.

Environmental concerns fuel the protests about China Guodian Corporation’s Southwest Power Plant Project. Residents, fearing health and pollution problems caused by power plant emissions, point out the plant is very close to residences.

In early 2012, residents began to protest the construction of the plant, and in April 2012 nearly 10,000 residents took to the streets in a protest which police put down with tear gas, pepper spray, and military vehicles. At that time, officials promised that the construction of the plant would be halted, but the residents doubted the truth in the statement.

China Guodian Corporation is one of China’s largest state-owned power generating groups, with nuclear, hydropower, and wind generation divisions. The corporation has encountered problems in the past with environmental compliance and other requirements.

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