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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.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Paraxylene (PX) plant expansion in Pengzhou, Sichuan, China
State or province:Sichuan
Location of conflict:Pengzhou
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:Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project details

600,000 tons of producation capacity

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project6,670,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:urban
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec ) from China
Relevant government actors:Pengzhou, Sichuan and Chengdu local authorities;
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Concerned Chinese netizens and local residents
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Media 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…)
Other Health impactsThe 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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

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

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

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1968
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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