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Hainan residents against construction of coal-fired power plant, China


The 300 million USD Yinggehai coal-fired power plant project was initially proposed in 2007. It received approval from the Chinese National Resources Bureau in Beijing in November 2011.

On 11 March 2012, around 10,000 residents of the Chinese Hainan province organized a protest in Ledong county against the construction of the coal-fired power plant. They arrived for the opening event held to kickstart the construction work of the plant on 12 March 2012 and also closed their local shops and businesses to protest the construction. Local residents said they were concerned that the potential sea pollution caused by such a plant could affect their fishing stocks and farmland. Clashes occurred between riot police and protesters.

After the permits were granted in 2011, construction plans for Yinggehai had already been opposed by around 8,000 local residents in a consultation held by the State-owned China Power company's Hainan regional division in January 2012.

Even though the local and national government knew that the villagers were opposed to the construction, they tried to convince them to accept the project and did not bring construction to a halt. When the authorities moved the project site to Foluo and Huangliu townships in the same county, local government was met with similar resistance and finally decided to stick to their original construction plans in Yinggehai. When protests against the plant in Foluo escalated in April 2012, reports claimed residents had stormed a government building and smashed offices and dormitories. Residents had been reporting dozens of injuries from beatings and tear gas from clashes with the riot police.

By October 2012, construction of the coal-fired power plant was said to be resumed at the original site in Yinggehai and over 1,000 people joined a several day long campaign to protest. Many were injured and detained by riot police. The Hong Kong-based human rights group, Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, stated that 50 people had been arrested and almost 100 injured during the protests.

Liu Futang, a former Chinese official and Hainan environmentalist was one of the people detained in connection with the protests. He was detained from July to December 2012, after writing and self-publishing a book about local opposition to Yinggehai. Meanwhile, his release in December 2012 came at the same time as reports saying that Yinggehai residents and officials had confirmed that construction work on the coal-fired power plant had already begun.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Hainan residents against construction of coal-fired power plant, China
State or province:Hainan province
Location of conflict:Yinggehai, Foluo and Huangliu
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The 300 million USD Yinggehai coal-fired power plant project was initially proposed in 2007. It received approval from the Chinese National Resources Bureau in Beijing in November 2011. As the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, the People's Republic of China relies for 70-80% of its energy supply on coal.

Project area:N/A
Level of Investment:300,000,000 USD
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:10,000 – 30,000
Start of the conflict:01/11/2011
End of the conflict:01/12/2012
Company names or state enterprises:China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) from China
Relevant government actors:National Resources Bureau
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy (Hong-Kong based):

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession


Project StatusUnder construction
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:Many protesters have been detained and injured during the clashes with the riot police. Finally, in December 2012, Yinggehai residents and officials confirmed that construction work on the coal-fired power plant had already begun. Neither the government nor the state-owned company responded to the protests.

Sources & Materials

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

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Country Analysis CHINA, Last updated: 4 February 2014,

Chinese environmental activist goes on trial over books, by Tania Branigan, The Guardian, 11 October 2012,

Thousands Surround Government Building, by Qiao Long, Radio Free Asia, 17 April 2014,

Yinggehai Coal Power Plant Brings Chinese Villagers Clashes With Police Over Pollution, by Louise Watt, AP, The World Post, 22 October 2012,

Chinese protesters clash with police over power plant, AP in Beijing, The Guardian, 22 October 2012,

Power Plant Activist Freed, by Qiao Long, Radio Free Asia, 6 December 2012,

Thousands Protest Power Plant, by Xin Yu, Radio Free Asia, 12 March 2012,

Protesters Beaten, Teargassed, by Fung Yat-yiu, Radio Free Asia, 13 April 2012,

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

NTDTelevision (2012), Thousands Protest Coal-Plant Project in Hainan, China, 13 March 2012,

Meta information

Last update18/08/2019