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Huaneng Haimen coal-fired power station, China


Description:

In 2011, when plans were announced to expand the coal-fired Huaneng Haimen power station situated in Haimen, residents and other citizens opposing the expansion took their anger to the streets. The residents argued that existing coal-fired power plants had already caused environmental and health-related damage to the local population, citing that they had caused a rise in cases of cancer and damage to the local fishing industry.

The demonstrations began on 20 December 2011, when thousands of protesters blocked a freeway and tried to occupy government offices and block an expressway in an attempt to block the project and halt the expansion.

In an effort to deter protesters and halt the demonstrations, police officers fired tear gas at the crowd and showcased two handcuffed demonstrators on local television. Clips also showed protesters confronted with possible consequences of joining the demonstration; legal experts warned that they may face up to five years in prison. During the clashes, an unconfirmed number of protesters were also detained by the police. State-run news service Xinhua stated that five people had been detained on vandalism charges.

In a reaction to the uprising, local officials offered the protesters to temporarily suspend the proposed expansion of the Huaneng Haimen power station, but demonstrators continued their efforts to demand that expansion plans should be scrapped altogether. Tensions finally cooled before Christmas 2011, when the plant expansion plans were indeed temporarily suspended by national Party officials and authorities agreed to release protesters detained during the clashes.

Online accounts stating that two people had died during the protest were denied by a Chinese official and could not be confirmed.

In 2014, protests re-emerged and twelve people were arrested for blocking a road leading to the plant for disturbing public order. After expansion plans were temporarily put on hold due to the protests in 2011, two additional coal-fired units were finally completed in 2013, bringing the power station's capacity up to a total of 4,144 MW.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Huaneng Haimen coal-fired power station, China
Country:China
State or province:Guangdong Province
Location of conflict:Haimen, Chaoyang District, Shantou Prefecture
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:Coal

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The Huaneng Haimen power station is operated by the state-owned China Huaneng Group. The coal-fired has four units which were put in operation between 2009 and 2013. The station's total capacity is 4,144 MW.

Project area:Approx. 90 hectares
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Around 30,000
Start of the conflict:20/12/2011
Company names or state enterprises:China Huaneng Group (CHNG) from China

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Online accounts stating that two people had died during the protest were denied by a Chinese official and could not be confirmed.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:In 2014, protests re-emerged and twelve people were arrested for blocking a road leading to the plant for disturbing public order. After expansion plans were temporarily put on hold due to the protests in 2011, two additional coal-fired units were finally completed in 2013, bringing the power station's capacity up to a total of 4,144 MW.

Sources & Materials

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

YANG, Ailun; CUI, Yiyun (2012), Global Coal Risk Assessment: Data Analysis and Market Research, World Resources Institute, Working Paper, November 2012,
http://pdf.wri.org/global_coal_risk_assessment.pdf

Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters in Chinese City, by Michael Wines, The New York Times, 23 December 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/24/world/asia/china-jails-rights-activist-chen-wei-for-9-years.html?_r=3

Huaneng Haimen power station, SourceWatch, Center for Media and Democracy (CMD)
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Huaneng_Haimen_power_station#cite_note-WRI-3

Opposition to coal in China, SourceWatch, Center for Media and Democracy (CMD)
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Opposition_to_coal_in_China#June_2011:_Death_sentence_for_Chinese_coal_truck_driver_in_protester.27s_death

Company Profile, Huaneng Power International Inc.
http://www.hpi.com.cn/sites/english/Pages/companyprofile.aspx

Chinese official denies reports of deaths at Haimen protest, by Alison Leung and Sisi Tang, Reuters, 21 December 2011
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/21/china-protest-plant-idUSL3E7NL0KR20111221

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

The New York Times (2011), Villagers gathered to protest in Haimen, China, on Friday, 25 December 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/12/25/world/25china_337.html

Meta information

Last update18/08/2019

Images

 

Blockade of a highway, Dec 2011

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/20/world/asia/china-protest/index.html