Paraxylene (PX) plant expansion in Pengzhou, Sichuan, China

To silence the protest in Chengdu, the local government even moved the weekend dates and prevented participation in the "silent march". Project is operating but will the government manage to convince the residents about the safety of PX production?


Paraxylene (PX) production in Pengzhou, Sichuan, started in 2005. But the Chengdu residents didn’t begin to express their concern until the company started to choose an appropriate place in 2007. On 4th April 2013, because of the protest, the local government of Chengdu announced that the enterprise will not be allowed to produce anything until legal authorization, and the whole process will include public participation. Some people called for "TAKE A WALK" (a silent protest) on 4th May, in Tianfu square, and the police warned they would watch on the protests action. The petrochemical enterprise posted statements arguing it was "scientific" rather than "harmful" to choose Pengzhou as location. The local government of Chengdu even moved the weekend to Monday and Tuesday to prevent people's participation to the protest actions: the schools of Chengdu required the students to have class and forbid students to join the demonstration. The government closed the Tianfu square and all rooftops police had police forces watching over the streets. So the protests didn’t appeared on public places. Hundreds of protests expressed their anger and protested on the internet, all the messages on Paraxylene (PX) in Pengzhou were re posted thousands of times. And thousands of net citizens left messages in Weibo. According to internet public opinion, there were six main reasons for the protest. First of all , air pollution and water pollution. Secondly, lack of transparency on production. Thirdly, the pollution of land and water has harmful impacts on crops. Fourthly, Pengzhou is located in seismic zone. Fifthly, the period for the notice was too short. Last but not least, the project would negatively influence the cultural environment of Chengdu.

See more...
Basic Data
NameParaxylene (PX) plant expansion in Pengzhou, Sichuan, China
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 CommoditiesChemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project Details600,000 tons of producation capacity

800,000 tons of ethylene

million tons of oil refining project
Level of Investment (in USD)6,670,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Populationurban
Start Date2007
Company Names or State EnterprisesChina Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec ) from China
Relevant government actorsPengzhou, Sichuan and Chengdu local authorities;
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersConcerned Chinese netizens and local residents
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationMedia based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
OtherThe main effect of inhaling xylene vapor is depression of the central nervous system, with symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, which can occur with exposure up to air levels of about 100ppm. Long term exposure can lead to depression, insomnia, agitation, extreme tiredness, insomnia, agitation, exposure can lead to depression, insomnia, agitation, extreme tiredness, extreme tiredness, tremors, impaired concentration and short-term memory. At very high levels of exposure. Xylene inhaled by a woman can reach a developing fetus and can contaminate her breast milk.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project still in operation, and it is unclear whether the protesters' voices and opinions will be heard and taken into consideration in future plans such projects.
Sources and Materials

China Dialogue - Will the Chinese public be persuaded that PX factories are safe?
[click to view]

South China Morning Post - Paraxylene (PX)
[click to view] - PX projects seek way out in China
[click to view]

Other Documents

Pengzhou PX a little girl wears mask with word " Pengzhou", another girl carries a poster writing "Uncles and aunties, please give me clean air"
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update05/10/2017