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Lead poisoning by Jiangsu Chunxing, Pizhou, China


In 1984, the battery recycling enterprise Xuzhou Nonferrous Alloy Factory was established in Pizhou City, a county-level city of Jiangsu Province. Its main activity was to recycle lead-acid batteries. In addition to providing local jobs, the enterprise paid substantial taxes to the Pizhou government. In 1997, it was restructured into a limited liability company and renamed as Jiangsu Chunxing Alloy (Group) Co., Ltd. The recycling plant continued to expand, and in 2006, it built extensive new facilities near Xinsanhe Village. Besides the expansion-related land disputes, these facilities have generated large amounts of dust. The wastewater containing lead and other toxic heavy metal elements flowed into the river running past Xinsanhe and into the groundwater, contaminating the villagers’ crops. [1][2][3]

In 2008, among the more than one hundred children under the age of 14 in Xinshanhe Village, 41 of them were diagnosed with lead poisoning, or plumbism, which causes significant damage to the neural and cognitive development of children; 65 were tested out with excessive blood lead levels. [4] Villagers believed that Chunxing, located just 100 meters away from the village, was the polluter to be blamed.

As early as 2006, some villagers found that their children had excessive blood lead levels, and they asked the company for health compensations but without any answer. On May 20, 2008, several villagers, including Zhuang Siliang, also found that his child's blood lead exceeded the standard, but Chunxing refused the compensation claim for his child’s poor health resulting from plumbism. On July 24, 2008, Zhuang brought his two children again to the People's Third Hospital of Xuzhou City and the results indicated that he too was poisoned by lead. At the same time, his small restaurant was also affected since people knew about the lead pollution. Nevertheless, his request for an explanation was refused by the suspected company Chunxing.[5][3]

Many other villagers from neighborhoods in Xinsanhe also sought compensation from the enterprise, providing medical proof of their pollution-related diseases. Again, the enterprise denied any responsibility for the villagers’ health problems, saying that they had met the environmental standards. Starting from August 2008, villagers of Xinsanhe embarked on a series of environmental protests against the Chunxing plant. They turned to the Internet for assistance; reports about the pollution in Xinsanhe Village began to appear online in October 2008. [6]

Jiangsu Chunxing Co. Ltd. and the Pizhou government reacted to the villagers’ protests by attempting to cover up the effects of pollution generated by the recycling of batteries. The enterprise bribed local hospitals, which falsified medical reports to state that the children of Xinsanhe were healthy when they were in fact sick. This behavior motivated the villagers to continue mobilizing and protesting against environmental injustices. On 10 November 2008, the villagers collectively complained about the pollution issues to the local government, and to the Petition Bureau of Pizhou City. Although the government conducted investigations for three days, it did not order the plant to shut down during the investigation. This oversight infuriated the villagers, who partially demolished walls of the plant on 13 November in an effort to prevent further manufacturing. [5]

The villagers were unaware of any responses from the local government to address the environmental and health issue. Some decided to seek medical treatments in Beijing. Meanwhile, they continued to complain to the Petition Bureau of the State. However, the Pizhou Government threatened the villagers and interfered with their attempts to seek medical treatment in Beijing. As a result, the fiercest confrontation occurred on 13 December 2008, when black smoke poured from the factory and more than a hundred furious villagers marched to the building and attempted to demolish the production lines. [5]

Finally, with mounting pressure and increasing reports from the media about this scandal, the Pizhou Government was forced to relocate the enterprise and to offer free medical treatments to those children who were diagnosed with lead poisoning. [7] In the end, the enterprise was simply relocated to the Pizhou Renewable Economy Industrial Park, and it resumed its manufacturing practices under the new name, Jiangsu New Chunxing Resource Recycling Co., Ltd. [8]

In February 2009, 18 lead-poisoned children were treated at the Shanghai Jiaotong University attached Xinhua Hospital, from where they received professional lead expulsion treatments. [9] More and more people started to move out of the village in order to seek a safer place for their children. [3]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Lead poisoning by Jiangsu Chunxing, Pizhou, China
State or province:Jiangsu province
Location of conflict:Xinsanhe village, Yunhe town, Pizhou city, Xuzhou
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Metal refineries
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:lead-acid batteries
Recycled Metals
Industrial waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Jiangsu New Chunxing Resource Recycling Co., Ltd. is a company with over 40 years history of processing ULAB (Used Lead Acid Battery). The present ULAB treatment capacity is 1 million mt/year and secondary lead output capacity is 600,000mt/year. [2]

The former enterprise, Jiansu Chunxinshengke Alloy Co. Ltd. covers an area of more than 150 mu (10.28 ha) and employs about 400 people. Batteries were used as raw materials to produce refined lead and alloy lead, which formed an annual output of 100,000 tons of recycled lead in 2007. [11]

Project area:10.28
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:more than 100
Start of the conflict:20/05/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Jiangsu New Chunxing Resource Recycling Co., Ltd. (Jiangsu New Chunxing) from China - New company relocated and renamed from the polluting one
Jiangsu Chunxing Alloy (Group) Co., Ltd. (Jiangsu Chunxing) from China - polluter
Relevant government actors:-Pizhou City Government
-the Petition Bureau of Pizhou City
-the Petition Bureau of the State, PRC

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Property damage/arson


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents
Other Health impactsexcessive blood lead and lead poisoning
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession, Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Other socio-economic impactsIndirect displacement; outmigration because of fears over pollution and extra medical and education costs for the villagers.


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Project temporarily suspended
relocation of project
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The plant was relocated and the lead-poisoned children were treated, but there are still longer-term environmental and health impacts.

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Jiangsu Chunxing. (accessed on 2019-09-24)

[4]江苏邳州儿童铅中毒续:村民两次赴京治病遭殴打(accessed on 2019-06-20)

[5]邳州儿童铅中毒风波调查 企业是不是罪魁祸首(accessed on 2019-06-20)

[10]邳州41名儿童铅中毒 铅再生企业涉嫌排污

[2] Jiangsu Chunxing Co. Ltd. (accessed on 2019-09-24)

[3] 江苏春兴合金集团遭遇“污染门”(accessed on 2019-09-24)

[8] The industrial park that revolves around the circular economy (accessed on 2019-09-24)

[9] 邳州铅中毒患儿来院接受治疗(accessed on 2020-03-02)

[9]邳州41名儿童铅中毒 铅再生企业涉嫌排污

[11]“邳州儿童铅中毒”与春兴“污染门”事件真相(accessed on 2019-09-24)


Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[7]江苏邳州发生儿童铅中毒 国内最大铅再生企业移址(accessed on 2019-06-20)

Meta information

Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/NWAFU 2018 summer
Last update13/03/2020



Lead poisoning in children


The main entrance of spring xingshengke alloy co., LTD


Wounded parents


Family members of children with lead poisoning


Children with excessive or poisoning blood lead levels[10]


The main entrance of Chunxing[4]