Succumbing to mass protests, Chinese authorities today ordered an immediate shut down of a chemical plant in northeastern Dalian city after a toxic pollution scare sparked urgent evacuations.
The authorities also pledged to relocate the controversial Fujia Chemical Plant, the municipal committee of the ruling Communist Party and the government said in a statement.
The government action was prompted by a protest involving over 12,000 of the city's residents that had been going on since Sunday morning, official Xinhua news agency reported.
The city's Communist Party chief Tang Jun and mayor Li Wancai previously tried to appease the crowd by promising to move the plant out, but protesters demanded a clear timetable for relocation.
Some of the protesters refused to move until a timetable was established.
The plant was a producer of paraxylene (PX), a carcinogenic petrochemical used to create raw materials for the production of polyester film and fabrics. Calls to relocate the plant mounted this week after large waves whipped up by tropical storm Muifa breached a dike near the plant.
Residents are concerned that a potential flood could damage the plant and cause it to release toxic chemicals.
The protesters chanted "Fujia get out!" in confrontation with hundreds of riot police on a square in front of the municipal government.
Minor scuffles occurred but there is no report of injuries, the report said.
The breached dike has been repaired and no chemical leaks have been reported, but the demand for relocation is gathering steam.