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Oji paper mill's sewage project in Qidong, Jiangsu, China

Following massive protests in the Chinese city of Qidong against the planned discharge of wastewater into the sea from Oji Paper's Nantong fine paper mill, Chinese officials canceled the construction of the industrial project.


The coastal city of Qidong is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, approximately one hour north of Shanghai.[1] The city's economy is centered largely on the fishing industry, and is a major source of lobster and shrimp exports.[2] However, the local authorities have attracted pharmaceutical companies, chemical fertilizer plants and computer parts factories with tax breaks and other enticements.  In June 2003, it was announced that Oji Paper had decided to construct a new paper factory in Nantong, a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu province.[3] The new factory, named Jiangsu Oji Paper Co. Ltd. (Jiangsu Oji Paper), is expected to become the biggest integrated pulp project in China. It is estimated that once the project is up and running, it will bring in over 700 million yuan in tax revenue every year.[4]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oji paper mill's sewage project in Qidong, Jiangsu, China
State or province:Jiangsu
Location of conflict:6 kilometers northeast of Tanglu Harbor along the coastline of Qidong
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Manufacturing activities
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:paper
Manufactured Products
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The sewage project was located six kilometres northeast of Tanglu Harbour along the coastline of Qidong, a county-level city under the administration of Nantong. The maximum volume that the planned pipeline was designed to transport was up to 150,000 tons per day.

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Project area:8,400
Level of Investment for the conflictive project200,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:200,000~1,000,000
Start of the conflict:07/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Oji Holdings Corporation (Oji Paper) from Japan
Jiangsu Oji Paper Co., Ltd. from Japan
Nantong Economic and Technology Development Area (NETDA) from China
Relevant government actors:-Nantong municipal government
-the Oceanic and Fishery Bureau of Jiangsu province
-the Environmental Protection Department of Jiangsu province
-the Development and Reform Commission of Jiangsu
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Qi Wu Dong Jiang BBS forum (
-The local volunteer groups
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Boycotts of companies-products
Stroll/go for a walk/take a walk
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Other Environmental impactsimpact on the marine environment and pollution from toxic and hazardous substances
Health ImpactsPotential: Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts, Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsPotential risks identified by the activists without confirmation from scientific evidence--1. potential health problems due to the consumption of poisoned aquatic products with the accumulation of toxic and hazardous substances; 2. higher prevalence of all kinds of strange illnesses in children, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, etc., and a higher probability of pregnant women giving birth to abnormal children.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Other socio-economic impacts1. potential damages to Qidong's marine fisheries and aquaculture; 2. the loss of collective memories, history and dietary culture related to the marine environment
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The construction of the discharge pipeline has been canceled. The company adopted advanced technology to recycle the wastewater.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

中华人民共和国海洋环境保护法(修订)Marine Environment Protection Law of the People's Republic of China [Revised]
[click to view]

中华人民共和国环境影响评价法Law of the People’s Republic of China on Appraising of Environment Impacts
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[8] Jian, Lu, and Chris King-Chi Chan. "Collective Identity, Framing and Mobilisation of Environmental Protests in Urban China: A Case Study of Qidong's Protest." China: An International Journal 14.2 (2016): 102-122.
[click to view]

Kriesi, Hanspeter, Lisheng Dong, and Daniel Kübler, eds. Urban mobilizations and new media in contemporary China. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2015.

[1] Chinese protesters plead guilty after water pollution riot in Qidong
[click to view]

[2] Waste Project Is Abandoned Following Protests in China
[click to view]

[click to view]

[4] Pollution Risk Passed on to Yangtze River After Qidong Protest
[click to view]

[5]污水排向何方? 启东启示录
[click to view]

[click to view]

[7] Paper mill pipeline scrapped after outcry
[click to view]

[9] 启吾东疆
[click to view]

[10] China cancels waste project after protests turn violent
[click to view]

[11] Environmental Protest Blocks Wastewater Pipeline Near Shanghai
[click to view]

[click to view]

[13] Qidong Protest Prompts Anti-Japan Sentiment
[click to view]

[14] Chinese researchers help paper plant realize zero waste discharge
[click to view]

[15] Oji to start integrated pulp, paper production at China plant
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Qidong Paper Mill Waste Threatens Shanghai
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3128
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