Special Report: NPC, CPPCC Annual Sessions 2008
Related: Premier Wen delivers gov't
BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Following persistent public protest, a
controversial chemical project planned for the coastal tourist city Xiamen,
Fujian Province, is likely to be relocated, Mayor Liu Cigui said here Friday.
"We have proposed to relevant central government departments to relocate
the paraxylene (PX) plant," said Liu, also a deputy to the National People's
Congress (NPC), on the sidelines of the parliamentary session.
"Faced with the choice of becoming a chemical industry base or a coastal
scenic city, we think we should stick to the latter," Liu told reporters after a
"Under the trademark as a modern tourist city, we have decided after
careful studies and assessments that Xiamen should focus on finance, logistics,
research and development, tourism, high-end manufacturing and service
businesses, and become a regional cultural and educational center," said the
Xiamen residents had been lashing out at the proposed chemical plant,
arguing it would be detrimental to the environment and people's health. In
addition, the city along the Taiwan Straits would also lose its longstanding
reputation as one of the most livable cities in China.
After several rounds of public hearings and debates, the construction was
put on hold last June. Experts concluded the southern area of Haicang District,
the original location of the planned PX plant, was too small and inadequate for
the diffusion of atmospheric pollution.
Liu added the PX plant "is still a good project" and in line with the
industrial development scheme of the national government." It should be moved to
somewhere else, because Xiamen is short of land for the project construction."
Lu Zhangong, an NPC deputy and chief of the Fujian Provincial Committee of
the Communist Party of China, commended the Xiamen government on Friday for
following public opinion. "The public are right to express their concerns," he
Xiamen is the second biggest city in Fujian.
Zhangzhou, another city in the province, has expressed a willingness to
accept the PX plant. "Zhangzhou City is capable of constructing the plant," said
Mayor Li Jianguo.
However, it is up to the investor to decide where to go.
The 10.8 billion yuan (about 1.4 billion U.S. dollars) project by Tenglong
Aromatic PX (Xiamen) Co. Ltd. is expected to produce 800,000 tons of paraxylene
and generate an annual revenue of 80 billion yuan.
Protests against the project is believed to have a far-reaching impact more
than on the possible relocation, as China's environmental regulator has promised
that public hearings will become part of the approval process for major
"Major projects in the public interests will undergo hearing procedures,
with timely responses to public feedback and media coverage," said Zhou
Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, last
"The right to know is given to every citizen," said Zhou, who added that
environmental agencies should release information on environmental quality and
management and industrial activity that affects the environment.
He said a multi-channel platform for public reporting, supervision and
litigation would be built for their environmental concerns.
China's new regulations on the release of environmental information will
take effect in May 2008. The rules mandate a reply from the government within 15
days after a public inquiry is submitted.