Last update:
2018-02-09

Controversy over planned paraxylene (PX) plant construction in Jiujiang, Jiangxi, China

Despite escalation of protests on many other sites of PX production, people in Jiujiang were targeted with an information campaign by the government that smoothed away opposition.


Description:

Para-xylene is a common chemical used to manufacture polyester. The chemical seems to have a low toxicity and there are very few reports worldwide of environmental harm from PX. Despite this, "PX has become a common target for public protest in China since December 2007 when the government of Xiamen suspended the construction of an £882 million PX factory. Since then, PX projects have been halted in Dalian, Ningbo and Kunming as a result of public discontent".[1] A paraxylene (PX) plant in Jiujiang was proposed by the Jiujiang Petrochemical Corporation and got the first EIA published on 4 April, 2012. It was approved peacefully, due to the harmonious coexistence between local residents and the company. This was unusual though, as in other sites where PX plants have come up, citizens have vehemently protested. In fact, the State Environmental Protection Department believed that PX plant was a sensitive activity. As a precaution, national Ministry of Environmental Protection required Jiujiang Petrochemical Corporation to provide more public information. So, the company published an article in “Xunyang Evening News". Short after, on May 4th, under the impact of the controversy over planned paraxylene (PX) plant expansion in Kunming, a group of citizens started to consult the PX plant in Jiujiang. On May 6th, the Jiujiang News Forum appeared the first anti-PX article, titled "PX plant planned to settle in Jiujiang. The people of Jiujiang come to die", which wrote: "PX plants in Xiamen, Dalian, Ningbo and Kunming stopped, why has Jiujiang continued? Who wants it?" It has elicited a great deal of public attention and concern. On the 10th, articles about Jiujiang PX plant posted on Jiujiang News Forum get more than 23,000 hits and replies of 358 people. Residents announced a sit-in at municipal government building to protest against construction of paraxylene (PX) plant in Jiujiang on May 13th. At this critical moment, Jiujiang Petrochemical applied to the local government for emergency help. Jiujiang municipal Party committee and municipal government launched the emergency status for maintaining stability, which comprised of measures by police, propaganda department, environmental protection department, security department, etc.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Controversy over planned paraxylene (PX) plant construction in Jiujiang, Jiangxi, China
Country:China
State or province:Jiangxi
Location of conflict:Jiujiang
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Chemical industries
Specific commodities:Paraxylene
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:6.5
Level of Investment:451,360,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:4,789,400(2013 Statistical Bulletin)
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Jiujiang Petrochemical Corporation from China
Sinopec (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation) from China
Relevant government actors:The Jiujiang municipal government, the Jiujiang Environmental Protection Bureau, the Xunyang district, the Lushan district Management Bureau
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Local residents
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Sit-in
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsExposure to XP can have severe consequences, such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, listlessness, confusion, irritability. More infor here: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0086.html
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Propaganda campaign by the government and smoothing away of the protest
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Sources & Materials

[1] Chemistry World, 17 April 2014 - Para-xylene plants face uphill struggle for acceptance in China
[click to view]

China Outlook - The PX Environmental Controversy: Erosion of Public Trust in China?

July 2, 2015
[click to view]

10 December 2009 - Sinopec signs agreement to expand Jiujiang refinery capacity
[click to view]

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Last update18/08/2019
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