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Antipollution protests against solar panel manufacturers, Quanzhou, Fujian, China


Since 14 December 2015, more than a thousand local residents protested against the settlement of a solar panel manufacturer near their residential area in Shoudou and Xiadian Community, Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. The demonstrators included the elderly and women, who gathered to block the street to protest for three days, until the Wednesday night 16 December 2015 when the police dispersed the crowd by force. Subsequently, many residents were wounded by a large number of anti-riot police and nearly twenty people were detained. The main  concern to the local residents was the potential pollution and radiation from the planned solar cell plant, and residents were not consulted during the environmental impact assessment of the project. It was reflected that they sent petition letters to the government, but without any responses. Thus, the purpose of the demonstration is to render the administrative authorities to respect the public opinion and to stop the project. [1]

No authorities  responded to the appeal from the residents. The massive protest was even not reported on the local media, news and messages on social media had also been deleted quickly after they had been posted. Invested by Apollo Precision (Fujian) Ltd, which is a subsidiary company of Apollo Solar Energy Technology Holdings Limited. (Later as Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited) and its parental company Hanergy Holding Group Ltd., the project is going to produce copper indium gallium selenide solar cell (CIGS solar cell).[2]

 CIGS cell is a thin-film solar cell used to convert sunlight into electric power. It is manufactured by depositing a thin layer of copper, indium, gallium and selenide on glass or plastic backing, along with electrodes on the front and back to collect current. Because the material has a high absorption coefficient and strongly absorbs sunlight, a much thinner film is required than of other semiconductor materials. CIGS is one of three mainstream thin-film PV technologies, the other two being cadmium telluride and amorphous silicon. Like these materials, CIGS layers are thin enough to be flexible, allowing them to be deposited on flexible substrates. However, as all of these technologies normally use high-temperature deposition techniques, the best performance normally comes from cells deposited on glass, even though advances in low-temperature deposition of CIGS cells have erased much of this performance difference. CIGS outperforms polysilicon at the cell level, however its module efficiency is still lower, due to a less mature upscaling.[3]

 As the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, Quanzhou decided to expand its solar power industry through solar cell manufacturing, solar power production and utilization, etc.[4]According to the residents from Tianyang Village, the company had been stopped by local protests in Xiamen City and then Quanzhou Taiwanese Investment Zone and the Haixi Automobile Parts City before moving to their neighboring community. Pieces of news about online complains and offline protests in the previously abandoned sites can be found from some websites, while the official explanation is that “CIGS technology is internationally leading high-tech, clean and environmental friendly technology.., instead of chemical reactions, the raw materials are physically processed, without toxic and hazardous substances or heavy metal emissions, thus will not harm the environment and health of the local residents.”[5]However, the EIA report of this project was not able to be accessed, and local residents were afraid of the cadmium pollution, radiation, and improper handling of pollutants, random disposal, while the pollution through the whole value chain of solar panel production has been debated globally. [6]

The parental company, Henergy made headlines in May, 2015 when it lost nearly half of its roughly $40 billion in market value in less than 30 minutes. A Hong Kong court ruled to disqualify the CEO, Li Hejun from being a director or being involved with the management of any Hong Kong listed or unlisted company for eight years as they found him incompetent and negligent in his duties as chairman of Hong Kong-listed Hanergy Thin Film.[7]After paying down 1.5 bln yuan of overdue funds by Parent Hanergy Holding, the solar panel maker being investigated by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong exchange seeks trading resumption in 2018.[8][9]The project which was protested in different places several years ago is in operation, but no detailed information can be accessed.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Antipollution protests against solar panel manufacturers, Quanzhou, Fujian, China
State or province:Fujian
Location of conflict:Shoudou and Xiadian community, Changtai Street, Licheng District, Quanzhou City
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Large-scale solar plants
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Carbon offsets
Chemical products
Copper indium gallium selenide solar cells

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Apollo Precision (Fujian) Ltd. distributes equipments and turnkey production line for the manufacturing of silicon based thin film solar photovoltaic modules. The company is based in China. Apollo Precision (Fujian) Ltd. operates as a subsidiary of Apollo Solar Energy Technology Holdings Limited.

Annual production capacity in Quanzhou is 250 MW.

Registered investment: 22,387,179.68 USD

Acquisition investment: 619,428,916.75 USD

Registered capital increased to 24,169,184.3 USD


Total profit: 805,329,607.25 USD

Total assets: 1,125,1201,812.69 USD

Subordinate companies: Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited

Address: NO.19, Chifeng Road, Jiangnan National Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Licheng District, Quanzhou City , Fujian Province, 362005 China

Figures and Facts:

-2008 Established

-2009 Apollo Precision (Fujian) Ltd. was acquired by RBI Holdings. And changed its name to Apollo Solar Energy Technology Holdings Limited.

-2012 Start the solar photovoltaic business.

-2013 Rename to Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited.


Company Business: solar cell equipment research and development, manufacturing and sales, solar cell equipment control software development.

Apollo Precision (Fujian) Ltd. was identified as "high-tech enterprises".

Project area:300
Level of Investment:223,990,320
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:more than 2,000
Start of the conflict:2015
Company names or state enterprises:Apollo Precision (Fujian) Ltd. from China
Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited (Hanergy TFP) from China
Apollo Solar Energy Technology Holdings Limited.
Hanergy Holding Group Ltd. (Hanergy) from China
Relevant government actors:-Government of Licheng District
-Government of Quanzhou City
-The police official of Xiadian community.
-Quanzhou Environmental Protection Bureau
-Environmental Protection Bureau of Licheng District
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:More than a thousand local residents protested

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsRadiation
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The authorities didn't respond to the appeal of the villagers, the local media did not report the incident, online messages were massively deleted. The project is under operation.

Sources & Materials

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

[3] Green, Martin A., et al. "Solar cell efficiency tables (version 50)." Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications 25.7 (2017): 668-676.


[5]CIG靶材项目将落户鲤城遭环保质疑官方一一回应-泉州网 - 泉州晚报 The respond from Licheng authorities about the environmental questioning of CIG project settle down. - Quanzhou Website- Quanzhou evening newspaper.

[1]福建农民连日抗议化工项目遭千警镇压/Many farmers protest against the factory projects by military police crackdown in Fujian.

[2]污染项目落址居民区 村老抗议遭千警镇压

[6]太阳能光伏真的清洁吗?来看看“隐藏”污染/ Is the solar power can really clearn? Let's see the 'hidden' pollution.

[9]新京报财讯-停牌近三年后汉能薄膜达成所有复牌条件:向香港证监会提交披露文件 千亿级扩张或规避关联交易

[8] UPDATE 1-Hanergy seeks trading resumption as parent pays down overdue cash

[6] How clean is solar power?

[7] China's former richest man now banned from Hong Kong's business world

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

福建农民连日抗议化工项目遭千警镇压 Youtube

Meta information

Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/ NWAFU interns
Last update23/11/2020



Tense atmosphere

There are lots of elderly people was suppressed by the local police.

The Protesters was the elderly people


The police force away the slogan


Residents protested by blocking traffic


Thousands of police officers to disperse the demonstrators, there are many elderly people were injured, more than ten villagers were arrested.

Thousands of police officers to disperse the demonstrators, there are many elderly people were injured, more than ten villagers were arrested.



Protest Slogan

 the slogan written on the flag is "Protect the evironment, Protect the generations".

Emergency notice about mobilization

There are two Elder Associations in local community jointly issued a statement , The picture write about : A large-scaled hypertoxic production project of CIGS. Its Radiation radius is about 3 km, The company since move away from Xiamen City to Taiwanese investment area in Quanzhou, Then be forced move out of the Haiti Car distribution Square. Now that pollution factory will settled down in our resident area.

The protest crowds who holding the slogan